MySpace Music CEO search down to finalists
With the new iteration of MySpace Music poised to launch, the joint venture between News Corp. and three major music companies is still looking for someone to fill the top job.
Andy Schuon, a former head of programming at MTV and Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) and longtime Universal Music executive, is among two finalists interviewing this week, according to industry sources. The other candidate is Owen Van Natta, the former vice president of operations and chief revenue officer at rival social networking site Facebook.
Schuon's career has been at the intersection of technology and music. His most recent venture is "C" Student Entertainment, a boutique radio and mobile media company co-founded with Steve Lehman, former chief executive of Premiere Radio networks. It struck a deal to bring celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's celebrity and entertainment news to radio audiences.
Schuon was among the early label executives to embrace digital distribution. He did a stint as head of pressplay, an early, if hamstrung, venture started by Universal and Sony Music Entertainment to provide a legitimate source for music on the Internet. That service was acquired in 2003 by Napster.
Van Natta, who was responsible for business development and strategic partnerships at Facebook until he left in April, previously worked at Amazon.com, where he was vice president of worldwide business and corporate development and also was part of the founding team of its A9.com site, a search engine.
MySpace Music's six-month CEO search has reportedly met with its share of frustration. But company insiders contend it hasn't been that big an issue because Chief Executive Chris DeWolfe and Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur are heavily involved in the launch.
Several other execs with Internet experience have been approached about the gig, including former AOL executive vice president Jim Bankoff, BigChampagne chief executive Eric Garland, and Benchmark Capital entrepreneur Dave Goldberg and Ian Rogers, both formerly general managers of Yahoo Music.
MySpace declined to comment on its search for a head of its music venture.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photo: Van Natta (Jakub Mosur for the Times)