Robert Kyncl, a 12-year veteran of YouTube’s senior executive team, will become CEO of Warner Music Group on January 1.
Kyncl, who is currently chief business officer at YouTube, will become Co-CEO of WMG along with current WMG CEO Steve Cooper for the month of January 2023. As of February 1, 2023, Kyncl will become sole CEO and assume Cooper’s seat on WMG’s board of directors.
Since 2010, Kyncl has been a key member of YouTube’s management team, steering the Google-owned video platform’s dramatic global expansion. He helped lead the launch of paid subscription services YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV. Music has always been an important pillar for YouTube, which meant Kyncl was often working with many of the artists and label execs who will now be in his orbit at WMG. Before YouTube, Kyncl spent seven years at Netflix and had an early-career stint at HBO International.
Cooper is the longest-serving CEO in WMG’s history, having been named to the post in August 2011 after the purchase of the company by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. WMG was the first music company to report streaming as its largest source of recorded music revenue, the company said in its announcement about his Kyncl’s appointment. Cooper has shepherded the acquisitions of Parlophone Label Group, Gold Typhoon, Spinnin’, and 300 and overseen the launch of operations in more than 20 new countries and established the WMX direct-to-consumer banner.
In a statement, the company’s board of directors said Kyncl “will make an outstanding leader for WMG’s continued transformation and success. We thank Steve for his many accomplishments over more than a decade, and we look forward to welcoming our new CEO in January.”
Blavatnik called Kyncl “the right CEO to meet this moment. His command of technology to serve creativity will unlock new opportunities at scale for artists, songwriters, and their teams. He sees over the horizon to find ways to make world-class entertainment accessible for all.” The billionaire also saluted Cooper for “all his expertise and his hard work. He has done an exceptional job driving the company from decline to growth and spearheading its 2020 IPO. He has established a strong management team and culture, and his tenure of him at WMG will benefit the music ecosystem for years to come.”
Kyncl described music as “an incredible creative force, with an unmatched ability to bring emotions, build communities, and propel change. We’re just at the beginning of what’s possible in recognizing the music’s true power, value, and reach. Thanks to Steve and his team, WMG is very well positioned for the future of serving artists and songwriters, as well as their fans.”
Cooper called Kyncl “a fantastic choice for CEO. He’s a hugely talented executive who’ll bring dynamic energy to WMG and the music entertainment business. He’ll have world-class partners in WMG’s senior management and global team.”