Doug Morris is reportedly back in business with Warner Music Group, the music major which sensationally fired the power-player more than 20 years ago.
According to multiple reports, WMG is close to signed off on a deal to distribute 12 Tone, the new label venture of Morris, who served as president of Atlantic Records from 1980 and Warner Music U.S. in 1994, before leading Universal Music Group and later Sony Music, from which he recently departed.
There’s history between WMG and Morris, some of it acrimonious
Back in June 1995, the company sacked Morris claimed he’d failed to communicate with upper management concerns about the alleged illegal sale of promotional CDs, also known as “clean” discs, by some staffers at Atlantic Records, which he headed. Morris countered with a US$50 million wrongful termination lawsuit.
According to Page 6, Morris has leased offices in the New York Times building in Times Square and is reportedly signing Anderson Paak as his first artist at 12 Tone. Former Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels is said to be joining Morris at the company, though none of the parties have spoken publicly on the reports.
The 79-year-old music man is the only exec to lead all three major labels
He exited his role as non-executive chairman of Sony Music Entertainment at the end of March, completing a handover that began when former Columbia Records CEO Rob Stringer was named as Morris’ successor as CEO of Sony Music in October of 2016 and saw the British-born executive officially take over the leadership last April.