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Sony Music CEO Doug Morris Is Streaming Big

Doug Morris and the case for the future of the music business
Sony Music CEO Doug Morris Is Streaming Big
Photograph by Jason Nocito for Bloomberg Businessweek

Doug Morris grew up in the 1950s on Long Island in a family he describes as “very professional.” His father was a lawyer. His mother taught ballet. His older brother was an aspiring scientist. Doug was the exception. He wanted to be a rock ’n’ roll songwriter. His parents spent a great deal of time fretting about his future. “Their basic question was: ‘Who is going to take care of Doug?’ ” Morris recalls. “ ‘How is he going to make a living?’ ”

Morris, the 74-year-old chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment, tells this story with great satisfaction in his expansive office on the 32nd floor of the company’s Manhattan headquarters. He sits on a cream-colored sofa in a finely tailored dark suit with his feet up on the coffee table. He gestures to a picture of him chatting with his friend Bono. “He’s the finest,” Morris says. “He’s really genuine. That’s not bulls-‍-‍-.” Another photograph of Morris captures him at a party with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and their mentor, Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight. “I love that picture,” he says. “It’s my favorite.” He fits in perfectly with the three hip-hop kingpins.