For all its vast cultural influence, YouTube is a fairly opaque and anonymous company, with even its top executives stepping into the spotlight only occasionally. That dynamic extends to YouTube Music, where chief and industry veteran Lyor Cohen tends to do the talking — yet there are literally hundreds of people who work on the platform’s music, ranging from programming to artist development to licensing and product, helmed by VP Adam Smith, and beyond.
As YouTube Music’s paid subscription service rises quickly — combined with YouTube Premium, it has rocketed from 50 million paying subscribers to 80 million in just over a year — here’s a look at the platform’s top executives, presented in alphabetical order.
More from Variety
Tuma Basa – Director of Black Music & Culture
In his role, Basa leads and supports “anything and everything that touches Black music and Black culture,” according to the company, “specifically matters that impact hip-hop, R&B, dancehall, Afrobeat and other genres/cultures on and off platform.” He works alongside marketing, artist and label relations, ad sales, government and public policy, trust and safety, comms and more, leading and contributing to ideas and concepts “with the goal of ensuring that YouTube is executing with cultural accuracy and thoughtfulness.” For his part, Basa says, “I look at my role in two ways, both internal and external. I represent ‘The Culture’ at YouTube internally, and then I represent YouTube to the culture externally — and not just to the music industry, which is just the commerce, but to the music community. That’s ‘The Culture’!”
Stephen Bryan – Global Head of Label Relations
Bryan and his global team are responsible for partnering with music labels to help their artists thrive on the YouTube’s platforms. It also works closely with labels to build multiformat content strategies on YouTube, including Shorts, Music Videos and Live in support of new and trending releases as well as long-term artist development. The team provides labels with best practices and product support, and executes global marketing campaigns to support label priorities in partnership with YouTube’s marketing teams; it also helps connect labels to YouTube’s product and engineering teams.
T. Jay Fowler – Director of Product Management
Fowler leads YouTube’s music product strategy, overseeing a team of product managers and music experts focused on creating experiences for music fans and building products to help artists grow and engage their fanbase and drive revenue from ad-supported and subscription-based offerings.
John Harding – Vice President of Engineering
Harding leads a team of engineers that build music experiences within YouTube and YouTube Music, including tools for artists, songwriters, labels and publishers. The team is also focused on building and maintaining commerce and promotion platforms that power all of YouTube’s paid products, as well as new features to the music platform.
Vivien Lewit – Global Head of Artists
Lewit leads YouTube’s Artist team, whose focus is on developing and executing global strategies that support artists’ career growth on YouTube and across Google. Her team works to enable artists to reach and connect with fans through partnerships and by helping them to optimize their presence on the platform, and Lewit also oversees the company’s music content programming, including partnerships related to international live music events and unique performances.
Christophe Muller – Vice President of Music Licensing
Muller oversees music licensing at YouTube, leading a team that manages relationships with labels, publishers, distributors, collection societies and performing rights organizations globally. According to the company, “His core focus is to cultivate these partnerships and make YouTube the No. 1 revenue source in the music industry.” Muller played a key in YouTube hitting the milestone of paying out more than $6 billion to the music industry over the 12 month period between June 2021 and July 2022, and was instrumental in helping to launch YouTube Shorts (essentially the company’s answer to TikTok), which is now available in 100+ countries around the world and averaging over 30 billion daily views.
Jodi Ropert – Vice President of YouTube Marketing
Ropert helped to build YouTube’s subscription businesses from scratch, starting from zero subscribers in 2015 and to the 80 million-plus the company announced Wednesday, with a purview spanning YouTube Music and Premium subscription services, YouTube Shorts and YouTube’s Artist Marketing. She and her team are responsible for partnering with artists and the music industry to help artists grow their audience and business on the platform, and has recently executed a number of Shorts collaborations with artists including Taylor Swift on the #TSAntiHeroChallenge, Blackpink’s #PinkVenomChallenge, and BTS’ #PermissiontoDance.
Dee Speed – Director of Design
Speed leads YouTube Music and Premium’s UX Design team, which consists of a wide array of user-experience creatives, product designers, researchers and art directors “focused on building the surfaces and experiences that shine a spotlight on artists and their content across YouTube’s platform,” according to the company. “The music product spans a variety of devices and apps, and under Speed’s leadership, her team aims to elevate the vast selection of content available on the platform by creating beautiful well lit stages for it to exist within.”
Best of Variety