MySpace Music finds conductor

November 26, 2008

Meet News Corp’s latest cool dude: Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music. They say he’s not only talented, but he’s hip as well — and reports of his arrival were, to say the least, plentiful.

Here is his history, as outlined by MySpace’s press release:

Holt previously served as Executive Vice President of Digital Music for the MTV Networks Music and Logo Group where he oversaw several initiatives for the company’s digital music group, including working with the MTV, VH1 and CMT brands… Prior to joining MTV, Holt was Senior Vice President of New Media, Creative and Strategic Marketing at Interscope Geffen A&M.

It couldn’t hurt that he used MySpace to tout new albums from well-known pop acts such as Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Black Eyed Peas, and Audioslave.

CNET’s in October reported that Holt was coming from a little more upheaval at Viacom than might have been comfortable:

Impending layoffs at the media conglomerate, perhaps staged in phases to avoid publicity or shock, have been well documented. And a source within Viacom said that there has been talk of some “reorganization” within Holt’s digital-media division.

MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe told the Los Angeles Times that Holt brought a blend of knowledge about where music is going as well as the connection to bands that large amounts of people want to hear: “He was the first person that we really found that had the music experience, both from a marketing perspective and from a music programming perspective, the technical knowledge and the relationships with all the major labels as well as independent labels.”

DeWolfe also liked the cut of Holt’s jib, apparently: “If you look at Courtney, from the clothes he wears to the glasses that he may wear, he’s got a very eclectic style to him… A very unique style.”

It almost feels like a Pet Shop Boys song: I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, let’s make lots of money!

Keep an eye on

  • Associated Press union members say contract talks show that the news outlet is trying to justify the old phrase, “You can’t spell cheap without AP.” (Editor & Publisher)
  • Jeff Jarvis, the new media guru, gets the Tolstoy treatment in this lengthy story. Conclusion? The medicine he gives old media executives lists nausea as one of its side effects. (New York Observer)
  • Newspapers aren’t the only ones trying to claw their way out of the pit of despair. Read about radio, the other revenue-challenged medium. (The New York Times)

(Courtney Holt photo: Courtesy of MySpace)


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Hopefully, he will have the desire to push the envelope with the technology that is already available. I’d love see Myspace Music actually innovate the music industry for real. First, as anyone that has seen Live knows, internet video streams are like watching television now. Myspace Music has a real opportunity to become a global streaming version of MTV. I’d love to see a weekly live music program with an in-studio audience, a global streaming version of the Myspace Music Awards (similar to the MTV music awards but worldwide), and other content that will engage. What artist wouldn’t want to play to Myspace Music’s global audience of 160,000,000. Imagine debuting a new CD that way. And since it’s the web, the audience could push one button below the live video streams and have access to every song the artist ever did. It would be a live version of a point of purchase display that reaches 160,000,000. Now that’s what I call revolutionary. Thank you! And yes, I’ve already told the idea to the top people at Myspace Music.

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