12 Tone, Doug Morris’ new music company, will take up residence in the New York Times Building in August, Variety has learned. The label will officially launch sometime after Morris, the only person to be the top executive at all three major music companies, exits his post as non-executive chairman of Sony Music Entertainment. Dr. Dre-affiliated rapper/producer Anderson.Paak is among the label’s first signings, as first reported by Hits.
Former Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels, who stepped down at the end of 2017, has already joined Morris’ senior team, insiders confirmed to Variety. While some have reported that the new label is part of an unspecified partnership with Apple, a source close to the situation told Variety that those rumors are untrue and that Apple has no equity or investment in Morris’ endeavor.
However, Morris’ longtime partner Jimmy Iovine is gradually transitioning to an advisory role at Apple Music, and while he has vehemently insisted that he has no interest in returning to the record business, many insiders expect him to be involved in Morris’ new venture in some capacity.
The New York Times Building, located on Eighth Avenue just west of Times Square, is jointly owned by the publication’s parent company and its developer, Forest City Ratner Companies; its architects were Renzo Piano Building Workshop in association with FXFOWLE Architects. The building, which was completed in 2007 and is 52 floors tall, also houses several restaurants and law firms, among other companies. According to a report in the Real Deal from earlier this year, office space in the building was going for about $78 per square foot, depending on lease terms.
12 Tone will transition to a temporary space while the company waits for its offices to be completed.
Morris’ exit from Sony completes a long transition that began with former Columbia Records CEO Rob Stringer being announced as Morris’ successor as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in October of 2016 and officially taking the reins last April.