Rob Stone (entrepreneur)

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Rob Stone
American music, media and branding executive Rob Stone
American entrepreneur Rob Stone
Born (1968-07-12) July 12, 1968 (age 48)
Residence New York City
Occupation Founder and Co-CEO of Cornerstone &The FADER

Rob Stone (born July 12, 1968) is an American music, media and branding executive based in New York City. The New York native attended the University at Albany in 1986 where he studied marketing and finance. Stone is the founder of the full-service marketing agency Cornerstone, and co-founder of music and style publication The FADER


Upon graduation in 1990, Stone joined SBK Records and rose to director of promotion. He also served as vice president of promotion at EMI Records. In "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop," author and hip hop journalist Dan Charnas notes Stone's rise through the ranks at EMI. When label heads Daniel Glass and Fred Davis initially discussed bringing Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and his label, Bad Boy, to EMI, they brought in Stone—who then was only a 25-year-old kid—due to his background and knowledge of hip hop. Like Combs, Stone made a name for himself at a young age, naming him "one of the first national radio promotions people for major labels who had grown up on hip hop." Stone rapidly became seen as the record business counterpart to innovative radio programmers such as Keith Naftaly and Hosh Gureli.[1]

In May 1994, Stone joined music executive Clive Davis at Arista Records who said:[2]

Upon joining Arista, Stone became friendly with Steve Smith, the then-Program Director for the top-rated hip-hop radio station in New York City, Hot 97, and is credited for introducing Smith to tracks from various up-and-coming artists that include Notorious B.I.G., Usher Raymond, and Craig Mack.[1]

Stone worked closely with Notorious B.I.G., Usher Raymond, and other various artists, including Sean “Puffy” Combs, Outkast, and Faith Evans, during their rise to fame .

Stone became an authority on music promotion, often quoted and called on for opinion pieces.[3] In 2010, Stone interviewed keynote speaker Pharrell Williams at music industry conference midem in France.[4]

Stone is a member of the board of directors for Sweetgreen, a farm-to-table salad chain, playing an integral role in the creation of the brand's popular Sweetlife Festival, an annual concert boasting a musical lineup of today’s hottest artists.[5]

He also sits on the board for the Children’s Cancer Association’s music medicine program, MyMusicRx, a digital playground that delivers music medicine to critically ill kids and teens in the United States and Canada.[6]

In 2015, Stone was featured on Forbes Get Paid To Be Yourself and was quoted "In today’s digital age, defined by content and experiences, a new breed of revolutionaries have emerged. These innovators are treading against the status quo to introduce progressive ideas that shape the inventions which drive our world today. Each possesses an unrelenting belief that shifts their massive visions into tangible achievements. Armed with an unmatched foresight, and clear understanding of the ethos that powers young America – this wave of skilled builders embodies a commitment to designing the society they want to see. Few trailblazers have personified this archetype more fervently than Rob Stone. " [7]


In 1996, Stone read an article on marketing magnate, Darryl Cobbin and his work on Sprite’s popular “Obey Your Thirst” commercials in an issue of Brandweek. In his book, Charnas explains how Cobbin “riveted Rob Stone because Stone wasn’t just a record producer anymore” and following a competitive bidding war among top labels such as Artista, Columbia, and Motown, Stone decided to strike out on his own.[1] Cornerstone, a New York City-based creative lifestyle marketing firm with offices in Los Angeles and London, was the result. "Charting a new direction for the music industry,"[8]

In June 1996, Rob Stone left a major record label to create Cornerstone, a Manhattan-based music promotion firm that worked primarily with record labels to promote their artists. After being joined by business partner and co-CEO Jon Cohen in 1997, the firm began to grow into a full-service marketing and creative agency recognized for its integration of hip music names in corporate branding campaigns.[9] The agency's work with clients such as Converse, Microsoft, Nike, Mountain Dew and Diageo has given Cornerstone a reputation as a pioneer in the movement of branding and music.[10][11]

Cornerstone was recognized in 2007 for its integration of hip music names in corporate branding campaigns.[12] Their work with clients like Converse, Nike, Mountain Dew and Diageo has given Cornerstone a reputation as a “pioneer in the movement” of branding and music."

In 2009, Rob Stone was featured on the cover of Billboard magazine's Music & Advertising issue with Cornerstone Co-Founder Jon Cohen and friend and marketing partner Pharrell Williams, where the agency was described as a pioneer in connecting musicians with brands.[10]

In 2015, Stone was featured on Forbes Get Paid To Be Yourself and it was mentioned that "Cornerstone has undoubtedly shaped the modern convergence of music, media and marketing." [7]

The FADER[edit]

In 1999, Stone co-founded The FADER with Jon Cohen. The FADER is an award-winning magazine dubbed by the New York Times as the new music-and-fashion bible.[13] With its 39th issue, the FADER made publishing history was the first to offer a full issue's content available on iTunes.[14] The magazine also produces FADER TV.

In 2002, Stone co-founded FADER Label with Jon Cohen. Its roster includes Matt and Kim, Editors, Neon Indian, Bird Monster, Saul Williams and Yuna.

In the Spring of 2003, Stone and Cohen launched FADER Films, an artist-friendly production division that has released critically acclaimed motion pictures, including “Hooked: The Legend of Demetrius ‘Hook’ Mitchell” and “On The Outs.”

Recently Forbes stated that "The FADER has served as the empowering voice of an evolving music culture for over a decade, chronicling compelling stories, and breaking countless stars across genres. Merging Hip Hop and Alternative culture, the platform has given artists like Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Drake (rapper) their first magazine covers." [7]


In his book, Charna's documents Stone's work on the original "Obey Your Thirst" Sprite campaign as Stone spearheaded Sprite's first-ever DJ Summit, an event that brought together the country's top radio jockeys and artists. In turn, this event eventually led to partnerships with noted hip hop acts such as at Fat Joe, Red Man, Missy Elliot, and Common, and the ultimate creation of the "Voltron" Sprite Hip Hop commercials - one of the most popular commercial series in brand history.[15]

Additional campaigns under Stone’s direction at Cornerstone include Nike’s “Better Than I’ve Ever Been”. Commissioned by the sportswear company to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Air Force One shoes, Cornerstone executive produced the song, secured Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One and Rakim to collaborate, and oversaw production with Rick Rubin. The track was nominated for the Grammy Award for "Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group." My Drive Thru was a collaborative single by The Strokes lead vocalist Julian Casablancas, American singer-songwriter Santigold, and The Neptunes producer and N.E.R.D member Pharrell Williams. The song was created for Converse's centennial and was released in June 2008.[16] Among Cornerstone's music related initiatives are Green Label Sound by Mountain Dew[17] and Rubber Tracks, a recording studio managed by Converse in Brooklyn, NY.[18]

In late 2010, Pepsi's chief engagement officer hired Cornerstone to do the creative on the brand's campaign, Pepsi MAX NFL Audible. TV spots aired during January 2011 NFL playoff games and online, featuring rappers Big Boi, Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B and Talib Kweli.[19] In 2012, Pepsi also retained Cornerstone for the NFL Pepsi Anthems campaign featuring Kelly Clarkson, Travie McCoy, Wiz Khalifa and Kid Rock.[20]

Cornerstone began construction on Rubber Tracks, a free recording studio managed by Cornerstone and operated by Converse in Brooklyn, NY, in 2010. The 5,200-square-foot (480 m2) space is open for free use to artists in the area.[21]

Pepsi-Cola North America's VP of portfolio brands Frank Cooper described Cornerstone's capabilities as a "rare combination", saying in an interview that "they understand the record industry while not being confined by it. They have great creative instincts, strong research, and they understand how to work with large companies." Geoff Cottrill, Converse chief marketing officer, said "their understanding of pop culture and youth marketing is really unrivaled in their space."[10]



  • Midem Marketing Competition: Gold - Converse Rubber Tracks Sample Library [22]
  • Summit Creative Awards: Silver - Branded Content: Share The Sound Of An AIDS Free Generation for Coca-Cola [23]
  • Summit Creative Awards: Gold - Not-for-profit Campaign: Share The Sound Of An AIDS Free Generation for Coca-Cola [23]
  • Hermes Creative Awards: Gold - Integrated Marketing Campaign: Share The Sound Of An AIDS Free Generation for Coca-Cola [24]
  • PR Daily's Digital PR & Social Media Awards - Media Relations Campaign: BitTorrent [25]
  • W3 Awards: Gold - Branded Content - Viral Video: Johnnie Walker [26]
  • W3 Awards: Gold - Innovative/Experimental - Consumer Goods: Converse Rubber Tracks [27]
  • W3 Awards: Silver - Integrated Campaign - Food & Beverage: Johnnie Walker & Entourage [28]
  • Mediapost OMMA Awards- Integrated Online Campaign: Johnnie Walker [29]


  • Summit Creative Awards: Silver Award - Public Relations Program - BitTorrent Is Not a Crime [23]
  • PR Daily Awards: Honorable Mention - PR Campaign of the Year - BitTorrent Is Not a Crime [30]
  • W3 Awards - Gold Award - Branded Content - Aaron Paul & Friends Cooking Up Meteors for Bushmills [31]
  • W3 Awards - Gold Award - Web Video Animation - Aaron Paul & Friends Cooking Up Meteors for Bushmills [31]


  • Hermes Creative Awards: Platinum Award – Best Integrated Marketing Campaign – NFL Pepsi Anthems[32]
  • ASME National Magazine Awards: Finalist for General Excellence in Print - The FADER[33]
  • FOLIO Magazine Awards: Ozzie Award, Best Black & White Photography - The FADER[34]
  • MTVU Woodie Award: Tag Team Woodie for Kimbra feat. Mark Foster and A-Trak, "Warrior" - Converse Three Artists One Song[35]


  • Diageo Marketing Brilliance Awards: Best Owned Campaign – Crown Royal[36]
  • Record of the Day Awards: Most Effective PR Campaign for a Live Event or a Festival – Converse Represent[37]
  • Brand Event Awards: Best Event Strategy, Fashion – Converse Represent[38]
  • Music Week Awards: Music and Brand Partnership – Converse Gigs and Represent[39]
  • ASME National Magazine Awards: Finalist for General Excellence in Editorial - The FADER[40]
  • FOLIO 40: Publisher Andy Cohn named one of the top 10 most influential “C-level” visionaries in the publishing world[41]


  • FOLIO Awards: Editorial - Best Consumer Entertainment Issue, Gold Winner: "Notorious B.I.G. ICON issue" - The FADER[42]
  • The OMMA Awards: The FADER FORT by Fiat, Entertainment / Music [43]


  • min’s Best of the Web Awards: Best Marketing Campaign – Levi’s & The FADER Fort[44]
  • OMMA Awards: Best Integrated Online Campaign, Apparel / Fashion - Nike Sportswear + FADER Presents Pitch Perfect[45]
  • Best of Clicker Awards: “Best Web Music Show” – FADER TV[46]
  • min Online Editorial & Design Awards: Single Magazine Issue (Consumer) - The FADER[47]


  • Effie Worldwide: SILVER Award, Fashion & Style - Converse Connectivity[48]
  • Clicker: Best Web Music Show - FADER TV[49]
  • FOLIO Awards: Editorial Best Consumer, Entertainment, Single Article Gold Winner: “David Byrne Icon Cover Story” - The FADER[50]
  • FOLIO FAME Awards: Best Custom Advertiser Event: Silver Award - The FADER[50]
  • FOLIO Awards: Design, Best Overall Design, Consumer Silver Winner, May 2009 - The FADER[51]
  • Utne Independent Press Awards: Arts Coverage - The FADER[52]
  • FOLIO Awards: Best Full Issue, Consumer / Entertainment, Gold Winner: March 2009 Issue - The FADER[53]
  • FOLIO FAME Awards: Best Customer Advertiser Event, Silver Award - The FADER[54]


  • New York Enterprise: Best Small Business - Cornerstone[55]
  • FOLIO Awards: Editorial - Folio’s Gold Eddie Award for Best Full Issue of a Consumer/Entertainment Magazine: March 2008 Issue - The FADER[56]
  • FOLIO Awards: Editorial - Folio’s Gold Eddie Award for Best Online Column/Blog for Schnipper’s Slept On: March 4, 2008 - The FADER[56]
  • FOLIO Awards: Design - Folio’s Silver Ozzie Award for Best Use of Illustration, “Culture Clash”: July 2007 Issue - The FADER[57]
  • Pearl Award: Best Web Publication in the Digital Category: F2 - The FADER[58]


  • New York Enterprise: Small Business Best Practice Award, Leadership - Cornerstone[59]

2006 – 2001[edit]

  • 2005 - Advertising Age: 7th Best Magazine Cover of the Year - The FADER[60]
  • 2002 - New York Press End of Year Awards: Best Urban-Lifestyle Magazine - The FADER


  1. ^ a b c The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. 
  2. ^ Erica Garcia (August 30, 1999). "Making Music Scene All Part of the Job". New York Daily News. 
  3. ^ Rob Stone (April 28, 2009). "What Brands Can Learn From Jadakiss". Advertising Age. 
  4. ^ "INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE: Pharrell Williams' Chops It Up With FADER's Rob Stone". October 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sweetlife Festival Grows from Backyard Concert to Big Attraction for Music Fans". 
  6. ^ "MyMusicRx: Our Friends". 
  7. ^ a b c "Get Paid To Be Yourself: The Business Of Being Rob Stone". 
  8. ^ "I'm with the Brand". Steve Marsh. Delta Sky Magazine:
  9. ^ "Fountain of Youth". New York Enterprise Report:. January 3, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b c Cortney Harding (June 6, 2009). "Brand New Day" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Fountain of Youth. January 3, 2007. New York Enterprise Report:
  13. ^ Ben Ratliff (October 30, 2005). "Overcoming the Stereotype of Sexy and Sophisticated". New York Times. 
  14. ^ Fader offers magazine as a download. June 30, 2006. MediaPost:
  15. ^ [The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop]
  16. ^ Eleftheria Parpis (2008-07-14). "Converse turns up the noise". Adweek. Nielsen Company. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Andy Gensler (January 14, 2011). "Watch B.o.B.'s Pepsi Ad for Falcons vs. Packers Game". Billboard. 
  20. ^ Edna Gunderson (August 14, 2012). "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USAToday. 
  21. ^ Ben Sisario (October 6, 2010). "Looking to a Sneaker for a Band's Big Break". New York Times. 
  22. ^ "Midem Marketing Competition". 
  23. ^ a b c "Summit Creative Awards". 
  24. ^ "Hermes Creative Awards". 
  25. ^ "BitTorrent fights back to reclaim its positive image". 
  26. ^ "2015 W³ AWARDS OF GOLD WINNERS". 
  27. ^ "2015 W³ AWARDS OF GOLD WINNERS". 
  28. ^ "2015 W³ AWARDS OF SILVER WINNERS". 
  29. ^ "2015 OMMA Awards". 
  30. ^ "PR Daily Awards". 
  31. ^ a b "W3 Awards". 
  32. ^ "Hermes Creative Awards". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  33. ^ "National Magazine Awards 2013 Finalists Announced". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Eddie & Ozzie Finalists – Awards Ceremony December 5 in NYC". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  35. ^ "mtvU Woodie Awards". Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Diageo". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Record of the Day". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Brand Event Awards". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Music Week Awards". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Winners & Finalists: 2012". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  41. ^ "The 2012 FOLIO: 40". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  42. ^ "2011 Folio: Award Winners Announced". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  43. ^ "OMMA Awards: 2011 Finalists". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Min Online". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Media Post". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Web Originals Lead Voting for Clicker's Best of 2010 Awards". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  47. ^ "min's Editorial and Design Awards" (PDF). Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Effie Worldwide". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Clicker Announces Best of 2009 Winners". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  50. ^ a b "2009 FOLIO: Awards Announced". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  51. ^ "2009 Eddie Award Winners". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  52. ^ "The Winners of the 2009 Utne Independent Press Awards". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  53. ^ "2009 FOLIO: Awards Announced". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  54. ^ "2009 Fame Awards Finalists Announced!". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Effie Worldwide". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  56. ^ a b "2008 Eddie Award Winners". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  57. ^ "2008 Ozzie Award Winners". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  58. ^ "2008 Pearl Award Winners". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  59. ^ "New York Enterprise". 16th, 2013. 
  60. ^ "Best Magazine Covers". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]