Rob Stone, Influential Figure in Music and Brand Strategy, Dies at 55

by Barbara
Rob Stone

Rob Stone, known for his pioneering work in bridging street music with corporate partnerships, passed away on June 24 in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was 55 years old. As a co-founder of The Fader and Cornerstone Agency, Stone played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of artists like Kanye West and Drake, and in securing significant endorsements during a time when hip-hop faced resistance from corporate America.

His death, attributed to lung cancer, was confirmed by his longtime professional partner, Jon Cohen.

Stone began his career at SBK Records and later at Arista, where he focused on securing exposure and airplay for emerging artists. He quickly established himself as a key figure in the hip-hop scene, working closely with icons such as the Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, and Sean Combs of Bad Boy Records, which had a joint venture with Arista.

In 1996, Stone co-founded Cornerstone with Steve Rifkind, founder of Loud Records. After Rifkind’s departure, Jon Cohen, Stone’s close friend since middle school, joined as his partner. Together, they orchestrated groundbreaking campaigns for brands like Sprite, Converse, and Johnnie Walker. These campaigns, which integrated their deep industry connections and emerging artists, navigated the delicate balance between artistic integrity and commercial success.

Rob Stone’s legacy extends beyond music and branding; he was a visionary whose work shaped the intersection of culture and commerce, leaving an indelible mark on the industry he loved.

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