This spring, MySpace formally unveilled plans to start a new music site, which it will run as a joint venture with (most of) the big music labels. Close to four months later, two big unanswered questions remain about the proejct:
- When will it launch?
- Who will run it when it does launch?
Answers to both of these should have been resolved by now. During MySpace’s April 3rd press conference, CEO Chris DeWolfe and COO Amit Kapur mentioned a three-to-four month timeline to roll out the new site, which by our count would mean by August. We’ve heard that more recently, the company has been aiming for a September launch, but is now not committing to that month, either.
Perhaps that’s because they haven’t found anyone to run the operation, which DeWolfe and Kapur are heading themselves for now. We’ve talked to several digital music execs who’ve been approached by MySpace about the job, but have passed. One of them expressed worries about the reporting structure: Unlike the Hulu JV between Fox and NBC, MySpace Music won’t be an independent company, but one that MySpace owns a majority stake in. Whoever takes the job wil report to DeWolfe, and to some people, that’s less appealing than running your own show.
But people close to MySpace say the company is just being picky about who it wants to run the project, which is a big, important bet for DeWolfe: Music is MySpace’s most valuable asset, so splitting it off into a standalone is high risk/reward move, and they want to get the right fit.
In any event, the CEO search is probably not MySpace’s biggest concern this week. That’d be Facebook, which has either caught up to MySpace or is nipping at its heels, depending on who’s counting. It’s scheduled to unveil new features/platforms/plans at its F8 conference tomorrow, and MySpace execs will be watching carefully. So will we: Check back tomorrow for live coverage of Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation.