We all need a little more of what Tyrone Scott has flowing through his veins. Despite not having legal mentors or law exposure in his early life, the current director of business and legal affairs, music licensing at SoundCloud just knew he’d build the life he wanted.
“I understand how some people might see it as not having anyone to show me the ropes or advocate on my behalf, but I’ve always seen it a different way,” Scott explains. “I loved the freedom to shape what I wanted my career to be. Where others might have expected limitations, I just had this foundational belief that I could do whatever I set my mind out to do.”
There’s no part of Scott’s explanation that sounds like hubris. He speaks kindly and thoughtfully. The lawyer-to-be, who never had to rely on his parents to push him to get good grades, refused to let the outside world tell him what he should expect out of life. In doing so, he has amassed an already prodigious legal career across music, film, television, and the intersection of the arts and technology, while gaining mentors and allies along the way. That’s what brought him to SoundCloud in 2022.
“I can say with certainty that SoundCloud is 100 percent about putting artists and creators first,” the director says. “That’s not just a slogan. I actually get to see it day-to-day. I see it in the decisions about functionalities and products that are prioritized by the organization and even how we structure our deals. My interest in coming here was based on the fact that SoundCloud is an organization that walks the walk when it comes to prioritizing creators.”
SoundCloud has been a critical member of the new musical horizon since its founding in 2007. The site is responsible for breaking so many new artists that the company’s name is a literal rap era (just Google “SoundCloud Rap”) that broke huge artists like Juice WRLD, XXXTentacion, Playboi Carti, Post Malone, and Lil Uzi Vert. The platform continues to shape pop culture with viral artists like Ice Spice, Fred again, and Hannah Laing to name a few.
Scott came to SoundCloud with experience at the Orchard, Mass Appeal Media, and Viacom, where he had the opportunity to drive lasting change when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. While at the Orchard, he was asked to serve on a council tasked with finding ways to create more opportunities for people of color and other minorities in the music world.
“I was lucky enough to be able to help put some initiatives in motion that I really think helped the company be more transparent, fair, and equitable,” Scott explains. “That included sourcing more attorneys of color, influencing our hiring practices, and spearheading a sort of mentoring program that’s meant to help minorities work toward leadership roles within the company. This required a huge investment from the company, and I was proud to be able to help get it across the finish line.”
“We have had the pleasure of working with Tyrone as head of BA for our client SoundCloud and continue to be impressed with his business and legal acumen,” says Guy Blake, managing partner at Granderson Des Rochers LLP. “Tyrone is a great and fierce advocate for his client SC, but is also a savvy businessperson and knows how to get to the finish line on even the most challenging deals.”
Since coming to SoundCloud, Scott has coled the company’s LGBTQ+ “QueerClouders” employee resource group. While a great deal of the company’s internal action originates from its Berlin headquarters, the director is proud of the sense of community he and his colead have been able to help drive from the US, including a memorable Pride party at SoundCloud’s New York City’s offices while the parade was happening just outside on Fifth Avenue, in addition to an industry-wide music and tech networking event for other queer employee groups.
“It was a huge networking event that included queer people from SoundCloud, Sony Music, Warner Music, Twitch, Apple, and Spotify, among other companies,” Scott says. “The whole industry showed up to celebrate who we are.”
Scott continues to blaze a new trail in how artists earn royalties, control their intellectual property, and address emerging technology like artificial intelligence, working with artists such as Tekno, Pote Baby, and Remedy Club. He also strives to create a more equitable world for those who may not have the similar confidence early in their careers. The accomplished attorney knows the value of blowing past expectations and barriers, and he’s helping create a world where more people can do the same.
During Tyrone Scott’s second year of law school, he was intent on entering the Recording Academy’s Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest that includes scholarship money, being published in the American Bar Association’s Entertainment & Sports Lawyer Journal, and tickets to the Grammy’s.
Not only did Scott win the competition, but Scott’s journey with the organization has come full circle as he was invited to be a professional member of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy.
“Winning that competition was an incredible springboard into the music industry, and I’m so proud to now be a part of this organization,” he says. “It changed the trajectory of my career, and I hope I can do that for someone else someday.”