Genius Taps First Head of TV and Film

T.K. Atakora for Genius
Joshua Asen

Joshua Asen most recently served as director of development at Discovery Science Channel.

Music media company Genius is expanding into longform programming and has hired the executive who will lead the push. 

Joshua Asen has joined the company as its first head of TV and film, a role that will include the development of music and entertainment projects that align with the company's focus on going behind the music. 

"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 chief strategy officer Ben Gross. "We're excited to work with Joshua to share them on TV, film and streaming platforms."

Asen most recently served as director of development at Discovery Science Channel, where he worked on such projects as BattleBots and Mythbusters Jr. He has also held roles at 11th Street Productions, Off the Fence and Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records. 

"Music has been a central theme throughout my life and career — my college thesis was literally an annotated French translation of the Notorious B.I.G.’s 'Ready to Die' — so I feel a kindred connection to Genius," said Asen. "The passion and depth of knowledge they super-serve their audience is unmatched, and I’m inspired to bring that DNA to new platforms and broader audiences."

Genius was founded in 2009 as Rap Genius and offered a crowdsourced platform for annotating hip-hop lyrics. It has expanded to include music-centric digital content that takes its monthly audience of 100 million behind the music. Its YouTube channel has 5.7 million subscribers to such music video series as Verified and The Cosign. Its investors include Andreessen Horowitz and artists Eminem, Nas and Pharrell Williams. 

Asen will be based in Genius' Brooklyn headquarters and will report to Gross.