What a Warner Music Group Executive Makes These Days…

Last year, Warner Music Group lost $190 million, with total losses over the past five years topping $695 million. Here’s what the top executives at Warner were paid last year, according to SEC filings.

Warner Music Group.

Fiscal Year 2012.

Total Earnings/Losses: —$190 million

Stephen Cooper (CEO)

Salary+Bonus: $4.3 million

(Annual Expense Account: $1.8 million)

Lyor Cohen (CEO, Recorded Music)

Salary+Bonus: $14.0 million

Cameron Strang (CEO, Warner/Chappell)

Salary+Bonus: $2.32 million

Brian Roberts (EVP, CFO)

Salary+Bonus: $1.078 million

Stephen Macri (EVP, CFO)

Salary+Bonus: $1.571 million

Paul Robinson (EVP, General Counsel)

Salary+Bonus: $1.67 million

Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

(Chairman of the Board, January 2012)

Retainer for 1 month: $356,871

Warner Music Group losses, 2002-2012: —$9.626 billion.

35 Responses

  1. Visitor

    These corporate executives are a modern class of aristocracy. They are fairly connected with each other.

    Their high salaries might seem high to peons like us, but then again how is a man suppose to keep a private jet on the runway and the yacht running?

    • Visitor

      There’s nothing wrong with jets & yachts.
      If you don’t want to support Warner, you can just stay away.
      If you don’t want to support Google, Pirate Bay and Kim Dotcom, you don’t have that choice.

      • Visitor

        Nothing wrong with jets and yachts? You just don’t get it, do you? Warners, Google, Pirate Bay, Kim Dotcom and YOU are no different from each other. You’re all parasites, all intent on sucking the artists dry.

        • Visitor

          Oh please, the artists are in it to make money like everyone else.

          • Visitor

            “artists are in it to make money”
            No, the artists you like are in it for the love of art. You can always tell if people fake it.

          • Music Fan (used to be)

            What a f-cking Joke! These idiots get paid tons of money to loose money. Clearly they have no idea what to do otherwise they would make their company profit. I hope all these major labels wake up one day and start doing their job properly. After 10 years and billions lost how on earth can anyone pay these idiots anything. Oops sorry I forgot that they are all old friends just supporting there old habits – like a drug addict each enabling the next…FIRE ALL OF THEM and hire some 14 year old who understands the modern world we live in, it would be a lot cheaper and the money saved could go where it belongs, In the ARTISTS pockets .

          • Visitor

            “hire some 14 year old who understands the modern world we live in”
            That’s actually a good idea.

          • Leon T.

            Executive tells admin call marketing and get some market research. admin calls exec in marketing who tells several of his employees to hit the internet and find out what 14 year olds are “into” these days.
            14 year olds unwittingly leave large amount of mostly insignificant data on internet that marketing employees analyze and compile into enourmous spreadsheets that are reduced to a one paragraph executive summary.
            That afternoon executive is presented with what 14 year olds are into and huge bonus check. All other employees live paycheck to paycheck and hope that their last debit doesn’t overdraw their miniscule checking account. 14 year olds get corralled for shearing.

  2. iamcoreyevans

    Not bad pay for a company losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

  3. 24hrs2live

    I think Irving Azoff just found another corporation to punk.

  4. the Greek

    Ok, I understand that executives in such positions with “all these responsibilities” are enjoying so high salaries. But I will never understand why they are receiving a bonus, when the company that they run… Is not profitable! What’s the point of the bonus then? Is “well done, you are killing the music industry… well done, you cannibalizing music industry ” the new definition of bonus?

  5. Dan

    And still some people wonder why they don’t “get” what’s going on out there? The fact is… IT DOESN’T MATTER TO THEM.

  6. Visitor

    Whoa! Cameron Strang is making bank.. i remember when he was just a pup selling shitty Kelly Deal records. Good for him I guess.

  7. franklingraves

    How much did your favorite Warner Music Group executive make last year?

  8. JHWeissmann

    I am at a loss for how record label execs still get paid, much less how they get paid this highly.

  9. MPeacock

    Only the senior executives make that kind of money. It is no different from any other company, the top 1% make a huge salary, bonus and perks, the rest of the employees – pennies on the dollar!

  10. jonbaltz

    Damn Warner Execs, you guys are making a lot. But you were smart enough to sign Delta Rae so that’s worth something

  11. Jacqueline

    They get excellent pays but their work hours are like doctors on call all year round so they desrve it!

    • wheatus

      That is one of the best comments anyone has ever put on any thread throughout the whole Internet during it’s entire existence.
      I came here to see if the execs themselves or their minions still post defensive comments when eveidnce of their horrors are posted for public consumption. I’m strangely comforted by the fact that nothing has changed since 2006, or 1999 for that matter.

    • former music industry employee

      PLEASE! These guys don’t deserve it. When it comes down to the actual work of selling and marketing records, be it mobile, digital, or physical, these guys DO NOTHING. The people who are doing the work get paid PENNIES ($32k/year on average), work year round (including their vacations if they can even take one,) and are on call virtually 24/7. The trickle down effect is not a concept these guys know, want to know, or will even address.

      Like I said in another post….these articles anger me because they skew the reality of the music industry.

  12. Andre c

    This is horrible and needs to be addressed. But how ? What leverage do we have in 2013?
    on the other hand, I always have this question: it was abundantly clear since the mid/late seventies that these execs were making 10 and 100 times the artist. It was also clear that contracts were basically horrible loans with an evil bank. It was also clear that artists got $1.29 or $2.00 per $13.99 that fans spent.

    My question is– we all supported that and gladly bought the albums we have, knowing we were funding this nastiness. How is it different today?? Why suddenly do we pretend, indignantly, to have the pure dedication to the artist, when we built this?

  13. Michael

    These salaries are a pittance compared to what the vast majority of major, multi-billion dollar companies pay their officers.
    The pure fact is that if Warner pays something more “fair” to your eyes, then these people will leave and take their extraordinary talents to another major label that will pay them that amount.
    Also, Lyor Cohen’s salary is that high because he just left a 9 year career at Warner and a goodly chunk of that is his severence package. Also, believe it or not, Warner is doing significantly better than most major record labels.
    Lastly, you can’t blame the upper-tier managers and officers for the earnings loss. You can instead blame the pirates for stealing all their revenue and making it basically impossible for a record label to function in today’s musical climate. Lastly lastly, before you say “Record labels are a dinosaur and need to change,” labels will always exist because artists don’t have the distribution and connections that labels have, and no retailer like Wal-Mart is going to work a deal with an artist all by himself.

    • The President

      Wow! Good ‘Troll’! Wrong in every point that you make…
      These salaries are not ‘a pittance’ in any way, shape or form. Few would object to these salaries for a successful company.
      Let the other majors take these useless execs! Taking on people who would run the company more profitably on a ‘fairer’ pay scale would increase the profitability of the business and therefore increase the salaries of these execs anyway!
      Others that leave companies after much longer periods of service don’t get that much for failing! Most are lucky to get a severence package at all! Comparisons are pointless. There are only 3 majors left, so that’s not much of a claim is it? There not doing better than one of them anyway.
      The small percentage of pirates are making money because the majors are charging too much for their music to pay for their overheads. When music was available at reasonable prices, most record companies made huge profits, even with pirates.
      All businesses need to change, to keep up with changes in the outside world. Music even more so. Retailers like Wal-Mart are now failing through their own greed, so eventually musicians won’t have to deal with them and will be able to sell their music direct to the customer. Good agents will continue to arrange the best possible promotion for their artists, and the best will succeed without the money grabbing tactics of the majors.

  14. Amanda Gomes

    A lot of money, hã?
    Looses a lot too, all because don’t know how to inovate on this market.
    Owner of HB20 Hyundai fan site

  15. former music industry employee

    Articles like these really anger me to no end because they don’t portray the entire picture of salaries in the music industry. It’s articles like these that further add to the demise of the music industry as they provide even more ammunition to fans who will use it to justify, and encourage, illegal downloading. This is not to say that the cause of the failing industry is entirely due to illegal downloading. It is not. Illegal downloading is only part of it. The labels, distribution companies, executives, and even the artists themselves and their management teams have also played a role.
    Yes, these idiots are making a ridiculous amount of money for doing absolutely NOTHING. Yes, it has always been common practice for said idiots to take bonuses when clearly they are not justified. I mean, really, what company’s CEO takes a bonus when their company has clearly lost millions? A company in the music industry.

    People have found articles like these and thought…wow…the labels take all of the money and the artists get screwed! Next thing you know these people have lost their conscience when it comes to illegal downloading and they think it’s perfectly okay. Afterall, these idiots are making a ton of money so why not say, “screw them” and refuse to give them one more cent of your hard earned money.

    I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know have this attitude. I also cannot even begin to tell you how many people I sat down and explained to them the breakdown of exactly where the money goes when one buys a CD. Now I am not going to go through that speech again here. I merely want to state that what has tended to happen with the labels and why these figures are skewed all comes down to these CEO’s and their lack of taking care of their employees. The artists are getting their money. The CEO’s, on the other hand, are very good at taking the labels portion of sales and distributing it ONLY to the top tier of executives. You know, the guys who really do NONE of the actual work in the music business. Ask anyone who has actually worked in the music industry, like myself, and you will find that most of us were paid between $22k/year – $45k/year. You never received any raises, even though you might have been rep of the year in some capacity. Cost of living increases were usually 2%, which on a salary in that range is the difference between roughly $50/paycheck more. Bonuses were given to us ONLY if we hit sales targets, which of course is not actual sales, but product in stores. These bonuses were on the high end about $300 a year. Ask most of us how many hours we were working and the number would be between 45 – 85, which would often break our hourly salary to roughly $4/hour. Ask most of us why we suffered when everyday our boses would tell us that if we didn’t like what we were doing we could leave and they would find some 18 year who wants to work there for LESS. That’s right. Because an 18 year old who wants to work in the music industry will do it for $4/hour. Unless you’re a woman, in which case you would be making $2/hour because as much as the industry wants to dismiss it, the reality is it’s a boys club and the only way you are getting in is if you suck it.

    So yes, these articles anger me for these reasons, but they also bring to light what pieces sof %$#@$#! these guys are. Yeah, I said it. Someone needs to.

  16. livecell

    Two ways to look at it—
    1- they are getting paid this high amount of money…because they’re preventing Warner from losing EVEN more money. So all the shareholders and the entire board of directors want them there…to at least slow down the bleeding. 🙂
    2- professional athletes get paid a tremendous amount of money if their team wins or loses. If the owners fired the all the athletes every time they lost, they would not have a team. The owners are thinking long term. Same case here with the powers that be (board of directors) at Warner.
    Do you remember when Wall Street was paying huge bonuses to the people that ran AIG? The public came to find out and everyone was outraged. Do you remember what AIG’s position was? They stated that the employees were getting bonuses because they were so “talented” and knew so much more about how to fix the problem then anyone else. If they didn’t pay them what they wanted, they would leave and go elsewhere…. then the company would lose even more money.
    If I’m on the operating room having heart or brain surgery…I would want the best surgeon operating on me…if they saved my life…I will think they earned their money.
    I’m an artist/producer/songwriter and 10+ years ago, I would never have written the above. Now that I’m an entrepreneur and music is ONE of my revenue streams…I understand how business works.
    So instead of worrying about how much other people make…work on being the best, most talented, knowledgeable, creative, connected, irreplaceable expert YOU can be and then you can charge whatever you want as well. 🙂
    Easier said then done…and that’s why they get paid the big bucks and we don’t 🙂

    • Ex Universal Senior Exec

      All the majors pay the top managements huge packages and perks. But these days they have fired most of the staff who did the work ( and in many case re hired them as self employed consultants on worse deals .. no paid hols etc). The recorded music business is quite small these days compared to the golden days of the 70’s 80’s 90’s… and doesnt make any money either.
      But the ridiculous job titles and salaries remain. Partly because the companies are just part of larger media groups, so there are no real shareholders. At Universal each label has an MD, VPs you name it . But they turn over very little money …
      Its quite obscene. If the companies were managed for profit and for the shareholders, these superannuated execs would be out.
      Most of them have moved from one major to the other. Its a self perpetuating oligarchy of super egos in my experience. The poor Artists and managers haven’t a clue mostly and are right to feel manipulated and ripped off ..
      It is about time reality caught up with this ex-industry