Richard Cohen is founder and CEO of music media and digital rights company, LoveLive.
Founded in 2008, LoveLive brings together brands, broadcasters, digital platforms and labels; combining unique access to music rights with digital and marketing capability to create, monetise and distribute premium music content, and deliver high-impact campaigns across a variety of channels. LoveLive has offices in London, New York and LA.
I Am Driven By | Working with subject matter that I love and that I’m passionate about. The privilege of working with people who are talented, inspiring, creative, and being in a position whereby I’m innovating, and creating standards and quality of work that I’m really proud of.
My Highlights | Kids, of course, have to be my biggest personal highlight. Having children brings recognition that you are no longer the most important person in your life. This is really significant, and provides perspective on everything else.
In terms of career, the fact that LoveLive exists for no other reason than I chose to set it up is something I’m immensely proud of. Working with partners to grow the business into something of substance, that is honourable and fair trade, which has provided a platform for a great many people to build their own lives, is a continuing source of pride for me.
Dealing With Doubt | Someone said something once that really resonated with me: “Anxiety is often nothing more than the fear and trepidation of events never likely to occur”.
For me, it’s all about mind-set. You have to recognise that if there is going to be a major problem, you will deal with it when it comes and when the seemingly insurmountable problem is behind you, the world will continue to spin on its axis. Life goes on.
I think being measured and proportionate about any single problem is key, and recognising that in the majority of cases you’re going to be fine.
I think you also have to recognise that for every reason that you set up a business, there are always going to be ten reasons why you shouldn’t. You overcome these by asking yourself why not, rather than why.
So, for example, setting up a business (LoveLive in 2008) when the global economy is falling off a cliff might’ve seemed like a crazy idea. However, recognising that the challenge was also an opportunity helped, so why not? There was a greater availability of talent and people are more willing to do deals, whether it was on real estate or other services that you would otherwise struggle to pay for.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired |
The book ‘The Innovators Dilemma’ was very interesting.
It is predicated on a business owner taking the smartest people he can find, putting them in a room, and tasking them with killing his business. The message is if you’re not thinking how to do this, then someone else sure will be.
So how can it be that some of the biggest players in their respective fields became irrelevant so quickly, and failed to see the future challenges of technological evolution? How did Blockbuster fail to adapt to the digital era, and allow LoveFilm to step into the vacuum?
The industry that we operate in is littered with examples too. The fact that audio streaming services are now valued at many times that of the major record labels is telling. It would seem that labels were certainly as well, if not better, placed to set up similar internal services, so why didn’t they?
The book has given plenty of food for thought in my professional life, and helps keep me on my toes and looking to the future.
I don’t like any one particular kind of music, a specific band or song. I just like music that really encapsulates greatness.
I love PJ Harvey, I love the Pixies, I love Nick Cave, I love a whole bunch of artists. For me, it’s not about a mood thing necessarily. It’s about listening to something that I find truly exceptional, great and timeless.
This may sound strange but the thing that I like to do to unwind when the mind feels cluttered is race cars. It may sound frenetic but it is actually quite meditative for me. When I’m sitting in a race car and all I have to think about is the next corner, that is pretty relaxing for me. With a couple of kids, a business and a pretty full life, that freedom of the mind is pretty rare.
So if I want to be present, to be mindful, and not have my thoughts wander to the next deal, the next telephone call, or the 300 unanswered emails, then whizzing around the track is one of my better places to be.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | God gave you two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you speak. I’m not sure I have quite lived up to that but I still think it is pretty good advice.
On Inspiring Others | By ensuring we are working collectively to reach our goals. To empower them and ensure they feel a sense of ownership, accountability and personal responsibility, and are not only doing what they are able to do, but to be able to focus on what it is they would most like to be doing.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | To realise my responsibilities as a parent. To ensure my two kids grow up to be fulfilled, autonomous and happy (to the extent that they can be), and to ensure they become decent, honourable and valuable contributors to society. If I can do that, then that will be unquestionably my greatest achievement, and my greatest possible reward.
Professionally, I want LoveLive to become the largest music marketplace in the world, and I ultimately believe that is within the realms of possibility.
I Am Inspired By | My kids inspire me, and children generally.
One of my favourite examples of this is when I was sitting in a university lecture hall many years ago and my sociology professor came in. He drew a white dot in the middle of the blackboard, and asked an entire lecture theatre full of university students what it was. Minutes must’ve passed before finally someone sheepishly said it was a white dot.
Then he wheeled out a film where he asked the same question to 6 and 7 year old kids, and within a nanosecond hands were flying up – It’s a snowball! It’s a car headlight! It’s an asteroid! They just had unbridled enthusiasm, creativity and imagination, with a lack of any sort of fear or notion of embarrassment. It was just so inspiring, and I’m not quite sure at what point that mind-set gets beaten out of us.
So, I am generally inspired by people who are imaginative, creative and not yet cynical.
In terms of an inspiring businessman, I think Elon Musk is amazing. The scale of his ambition, his fearlessness and what he seeks to achieve is truly game-changing on a global scale, and I think you cannot but be in awe of him and the work that he has done.
Principles I Live By | That everything needs to be fair, honourable and equitable.