MusicNet, the subscription-based music distribution company backed by RealNetworks and a handful of major record companies, said today that it has named former MTV executive Alan McGlade as its chief executive officer (CEO).
McGlade, most recently president and CEO of MTV’s The Box Music Network, takes over from RealNetworks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser, who is chairman of MusicNet and had been interim CEO since it lured AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann AG and the EMI Group to the venture.
MusicNet, which has since brought on board independent label Zomba Recording Corp. as a fifth partner, is facing a probe by federal antitrust regulators who want a closer look at the deal-making behind MusicNet and Pressplay, a similar venture formed by the record-company arms of Sony and Vivendi Universal.
Both operations intend to serve up digital music in copy-protected, limited-formats that member companies and retail “affiliates” will deliver to consumers for fees.
“There couldn’t be a more exciting time for the music industry as MusicNet charts the course in the emerging era of digital music,” McGlade said in a prepared statement. “I am fully dedicated to bringing music fans a compelling and robust service.”
Said RealNetwork’s Glaser: “Alan is a tremendously creative individual, who deeply understands the convergence of the music and digital media industries.”
But McGlade’s first job will be to steer the company through the antitrust scrutiny of the U.S. Justice Department investigation, which the department officially confirmed last week.
Concerns about the possible anti-competitive effects of the record companies’ pooling of their content in just two distribution services was also raised during a recent federal court hearing over ongoing copyright-infringement lawsuits against Napster.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel chided record-company lawyers when she learned of licensing deal reached between MusicNet and Napster that prevented the file- sharing network from negotiating a similar deal with Pressplay.
However, the record companies assured Judge Patel that they did not forge the Napster deal directly. Instead, they said, RealNetwork’s Glaser masterminded that pact.
Warner Music executive Paul Vidich stressed the separation of MusicNet and the record companies today, saying he thought McGlade will “make MusicNet a strong independent presence in the emerging online music subscription market.”
MusicNet can be found at: http://www.musicnet.com.