Warner Music Group has appointed Ariel Bardin to the newly-created post of President of Technology.
WMG says that Bardin will serve as “a key member” of the company’s Executive Leadership Team, overseeing technology and data teams as well as the development of systems, processes, and products.
Based in New York, he reports to WMG’s CEO Robert Kyncl.
Bardin is Kyncl’s second ex-YouTube/Google hire since the latter exec became Warner Music Group CEO in January 2023.
Kyncl last month appointed Tim Matusch – formerly Managing Director, Strategy & Business Operations at YouTube – as WMG’s EVP of Strategy & Operations
Kyncl is ex-Google/Alphabet himself, of course, having spent over a decade in senior positions at YouTube, most recently as Chief Business Officer, before joining WMG.
Ariel Bardin spent 16 years at Google and YouTube, where, according to a Warner media release, he “built, launched, and led some of the company’s most successful initiatives”, including Google AdWords and Google Payments.
At YouTube, Bardin worked closely with top creators to ensure the platform helped them build their businesses, and he headed the teams developing creator products and ContentID.
Prior to joining WMG, Bardin was Chief Product Officer at Celonis, which according to the announcement, “has created a new category of software to help many of the world’s largest companies use ‘process mining’ to enhance their operations and performance”.
“Ariel understands how technology can serve creativity to have real, long-lasting cultural and commercial impact.”
Kyncl said: “Ariel understands how technology can serve creativity to have real, long-lasting cultural and commercial impact.
“He has a tremendous appreciation for artistry, deep technical expertise, and a proven track record in execution at the highest level. We’re fortunate to welcome him to our team.”
“WMG is entering an exciting new era under [Robert Kyncl’s] leadership, and I’m looking forward to joining him and the rest of the company on a mission to provide the highest level of service to the company’s artists, songwriters, and teams.”
Bardin said: “I had the pleasure of working with Robert during our time together at Google, where I especially enjoyed our work empowering and equipping YouTube creators.
“WMG is entering an exciting new era under his leadership, and I’m looking forward to joining him and the rest of the company on a mission to provide the highest level of service to the company’s artists, songwriters, and teams.”
In 2016, the record industry attacked YouTube in the media for its so-called “value gap” – i.e. the difference between the huge amount of music consumption happening on the platform, and the royalties being paid out.
That year, in an op/ed article for the Financial Times, Ariel Bardin, then VP of Product Management at YouTube, wrote: “The truth is that YouTube takes copyright management extremely seriously and we work hard to ensure rights holders make money no matter who uploads their music. No other platform gives as much money back to creators — big and small — across all kinds of content.”
He explained that ContentID “automatically detects whether an uploaded video contains content — like music — originally created by that owner. It then offers rights holders a choice: they can block that video or leave it up and earn revenue from it”.
Bardin argued that, partly thanks to ContentID, YouTube had by this point “paid out more than $3bn to the music industry — and that number is growing significantly year on year”.
It continued to grow: According to now-Head of Music at YouTube, Lyor Cohen, YouTube paid out over $6 billion to the music business in the 12 months ended June 2022.
Around $2 billion of that figure, said Cohen, came from revenue generated by music on user-generated videos, identified by rightsholders via ContentID.
Bardin has an MS degree in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Southern California.
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