- Greg Sandoval/Business Insider
On the day Lyor Cohen resigned as chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group in September 2012, he appeared headed for obscurity.
Digital distribution and music piracy had chopped annual revenue in half and plunged the music industry into its darkest period.
I covered digital music back then, and I had seen countless middle-aged label managers flee the sector or get forced out. Finding another job in the business was near impossible. But Cohen refused exile.
What he did surprised even his friends, and angered many.
After three decades in the music industry and years of attacking tech companies for not properly compensating music artists, Cohen flipped sides and joined YouTube in 2016 to spearhead its global music efforts.
How the pugnacious 6-foot-5 executive managed to claw back into center ring is a powerful testimonial for startup founders, media executives, and anyone facing a downturn in their industry.