Song-lyrics and music media company Genius named Miki Toliver King, the Washington Post’s chief marketing officer, its new president.
King will join Genius in the second quarter of 2021, overseeing revenue, content, audience operations and marketing working alongside co-founder and CEO Tom Lehman. Ilan Zechory, Genius’s co-founder who previously served as president, will remain on the company’s board of directors and continue to be involved in strategic planning.
“Miki’s track record of effecting transformational change at digital businesses makes her the perfect leader to take Genius to our next phase,” Lehman said in announcing her hire. “Hearing Miki’s vision for Genius and our community of artists, creators, and fans excites me in a way reminiscent of our earliest days as a company.”
King commented, “Never has there been a more important time for the work of artists and creators to reverberate around the world, with Genius as its driving force. I am honored to leverage my career-long commitment to connecting audiences to the content they value most.”
As CMO of the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, King has overseen subscription growth marketing, branding, licensing and business development. Prior to joining WaPo in early 2016, she was EVP of operations at Politico, where she launched the company’s first paid subscription product and formed its sales training and talent acquisition teams.
King began her career by leading business development and marketing teams at the Advisory Board Co. in Washington, D.C. and later served as director of business development at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. King currently serves on the board of the International Women in Media Foundation and the corporate advisory board of So Others Might Eat, a not-for-profit org committed to helping vulnerable and unhoused people in D.C.
Founded in 2009 — originally called Rap Genius — the company operates an extensive database of song lyrics as produces original content including its flagship series “Verified.” In the summer of 2020, it launched Genius Live, an interactive livestreaming platform that hosts live concerts and artist events. Genius claims to have more than 100 million global users and 2 million contributors to its lyrics database.
Genius powers Spotify’s “Behind the Lyrics” feature and has a pact with Apple Music for lyrics integration. In late 2019, Genius sued Google and LyricFind, alleging the companies stole song lyrics maintained by Genius. That case was dismissed last year by a federal judge, who ruled Genius did not have standing to sue in the matter since it doesn’t own the rights to the original lyrics.
Brooklyn-based Genius has raised $77.7 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase. Its investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Quicken Loans, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and artists Eminem, Nas and Pharrell Williams.