Brooklyn-based music media firm Genius is expanding its footprint from digital media into long-form music and entertainment programming with the appointment of veteran producer and former Science Channel development executive Joshua Asen.
Asen (pictured) will serve as the first head of television and film at Genius, a website allowing users to provide annotations and interpretations of song lyrics, news stories, sources, poetry and documents.
In the new role, Asen will spearhead the development of film and television projects that provide an intimate, behind-the-scenes look into the creative process. He will be based in Brooklyn and report to Genius’s chief strategy officer Ben Gross.
Asen most recently served as director of development and production at Discovery’s Science Channel, with oversight of such popular programs as BattleBots and Mythbusters Jr. Prior to his three-plus years at Discovery, the executive led development teams at 11th Street Productions, Off the Fence, Love & Hip Hop creator Eastern and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records.
“We’re building on the momentum Genius has established with our digital series like Verified and Deconstructed to tell bigger stories about artists and how music pushes culture forward,” said Genius’s Gross in a statement. “We’re excited to work with Joshua to share them on TV, film, and streaming platforms.”
Genius was founded in 2009 as Rap Genius by Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, and originally offered a crowdsourced platform for annotating hip-hop lyrics. The company has since expanded to incorporate such music-focused digital content as Verified and The Cosign.With a global reach of more than 100 million people, it’s YouTube channel has 5.7 million-plus subscribers. Among Genius’s investors are Andreessen Horowitz, Quicken Loans and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and such artists as Eminem, Nas and Pharrell Williams.