That was fast: Michael Bloom, the MTV executive who moved to run the JV between MTV and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody last September, has left the company. He’s now back at MTV (VIA).
We don’t have a title for him yet, but an MTV spokesman says he’s going to have a “leadership position” at his old company.
Michael is one of several MTV vets who joined Rhapsody America last year but haven’t stuck around. Marc Ache was a VP of Music Service Development at MTV, then a VP of Technology at Rhapsody; now he’s a SVP for the Digital Technology Group at… MTV. Doug Ferguson, a VP of Product Deveopment at MTV who became VP of Product Strategy at Rhapsody, is also out; we haven’t been able to confirm where he landed.
The MTV guys were at the RealNetworks (RNWK)/MTV JV in the first place because MTV had folded Urge, its never-really-got-off-the-ground music subscription service, into a JV with Real’s Rhapsody. The head of the JV is now Neil Smith, an AOL (TWX) vet who is handling marketing, operations, and biz dev. But observers assume that Real CEO Rob Glaser will be pretty hands on, as is his wont.
It’s not a shock to see execs leaving after a merger, and Real in particular tends to have a fairly high turnover. But from an outsider’s perspective, this looks a good-sized exodus.
And from a RealNetworks investor’s perspective, the shuffle isn’t a huge deal: While Real is best known for its music service these days, that service has yet to get any real traction after years of effort. Their best hope now looks like Real’s game business, which the company is wisely spinning off.