According to VarietyBillboard and other published reports, Doug Morris has secured the funding to launch a new label and will exit his post as non-Executive Chairman of Sony Music Entertainment at the end of March. Variety, citing a report in HITS, says Morris’ new company will be called 12 Tone and that he will be joined in this new venture by former Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels, who stepped down at the end of 2017, replaced by Eminem’s longtime manager Paul Rosenberg.
While some reports claim Morris’ new label is part of an unspecified partnership with Apple, a source close to the situation told Variety that those rumors are untrue. Reps for Morris, Bartels, Sony and Apple did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
Morris’ pending exit from Sony completes a lengthy transition period that began back in mid-October 2016 when it was initially announced that then Columbia Records Chairman & CEO Rob Stringer would assume the role of Morris’ successor as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, which officially happened in April 2017.