Lyor Cohen warns industry not to get ‘drunk off the data’


YouTube Music boss Lyor Cohen sat down with colleague Tuma Basa, director of urban music, for a hip-hop focused event earlier this week – and delivered a warning to labels about their A&R strategies.

“I think the industry is so focused on the data that it’s a problem. You guys are very lucky that you now have data but [it needs to be] data combined with human instinct and also still being able to see around the corner about the person that you’re getting involved with,” said Cohen, according to selected remarks sent to journalists by YouTube. “To me that’s the magic. Right now everybody’s so drunk off the data that they’re putting these kids in places prior to having any artist development. I think if we could potentially dial back and understand that the data is helpful,  but you also need to be passionate about an artist and spend time with that artist.”

Basa also talked about the issue. “I am a believer in the combination of gut and data, but I think gut should lead first. I’m a believer in when the data supports your gut. All it is is confirmation and emotional quality control,” he said.

Stuart Dredge

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