Justin Bieber was famously discovered on YouTube, perhaps the most spectacular example to date of an entertainer parlaying the internet into mainstream popularity — now, a startup headed by a music industry veteran wants to repeat that success using Twitter as a backbone. Lyor Cohen, who cut his teeth at Rush and Def Jam in the 80s and 90s before heading Warner Music Group in the last decade, announced at French music conference Midem this weekend that his new company 300 is working with Twitter to mine millions of tweets in the hopes of finding the next platinum-selling artist.
Twitter gets something out of the deal, too
At its founding last year, Cohen and his team described 300 as a "content company" primed to help artists make their mark — in the age of Twitter, Pinterest, and Vevo, the old notion of a "record label" doesn't quite cover it. While 300's access to Twitter's real-time firehose could help it get a jump on emerging artists, Twitter is getting 300's help curating music data in return, which it'll then be able to sell to artists and other factions in the industry.
Of course, this isn't Twitter's first foray into the business: #music famously fell flat last year after a high-profile launch, but that was a consumer-facing product — the 300 partnership is aimed squarely at labels and artists. It bears some resemblance to the company's recently announced deal with CNN and Dataminr to improve news discovery through the social network, suggesting that the art and science of decoding Twitter's half-billion-plus tweets per day could help pay the bills in the coming years.