MySpace Music seeking CEO and funding?

chrisdewolfe1.jpgThe long-expected launch of MySpace Music is happening in drips and drabs. On Sunday MySpace and major music label partners in the joint venture said MySpace Music will launch with four big name advertisers: McDonald’s, State Farm, Toyota and Sony Pictures.

But MySpace still did not confirm when it would launch — though that’s widely expected this week.

In the meantime, several blogs, led by TechCrunch, report that the partners are seeking third party funding of up to $100 million for MySpace Music, valuing the company at around $2 billion. Reuters has not been able to confirm this through our sources yet.

Also, LA Times reports that Facebook’s former chief operating officer Owen Van Natta and ex-Universal Music exec Andy Schuon are said to be in the running to be chief executive of MySpace Music, an appointment that MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe had hoped would be confirmed by now.

 Keep an eye on:

    Best Buy agrees to buy Napster for $121 million (Reuters) Electronic Arts ends merger talks with Take Two (Reuters) AT&T will ‘temporarily reduce’ broadband speeds (Ars Technica)

(Reuters photo of Chris DeWolfe)

Advertisers: Not so fast Yahoo…

yahoo.jpgThe Google-Yahoo deal is coming under more fire – this time from advertisers.

The Association of National Advertisers has sent a letter to U.S. regulators objecting to the proposed Internet search advertising partnership between Yahoo and Google, supplying critics with even more fodder to shoot down the deal.

Essentially, the ANA is saying that the deal will give too much control over online advertising to one partnership. The group’s stance isn’t to be taken lightly, since they represent big players like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.

Who says the economy is killing advertising?

dollars.jpgQuarterly results arrived today from Interpublic Group and Publicis. Guess what? Advertising spending held up in the second quarter, at least for the two ad companies.

You would think — given all the doom and gloom — that corporations would have sharply cut back on spending in the second quarter. Indeed, just about every expert out there has cut spending forecasts.

Yet Interpublic, home of DraftFCB and McCann-Erickson, posted revenue that raced right past expectations and said it was well on the way to achieving its goals for the year.

Google, Microsoft augur tougher times ahead

googlesign.jpgGoogle’s second quarter earnings disappointed Wall Street yesterday and sent its shares tumbling. The search giant blamed lower returns from managing its huge cash piles but analysts are also concerned the market leader in search advertising might augur a wider slowdown in online advertising.

Google itself said revenue growth from search ads was “positive” in every sector except for real estate, which was down by a small amount.

But the Street wasn’t convinced, perhaps because Microsoft also disappointed with its quarterly earnings citing “tough” economic conditions which impacted its software business and online ad sales.

MySpace, NBC seek two citizen journalists

myspace-nbc1.jpgTwo among the 117 million of you MySpace users will get to cover the Republican and Democratic National Conventions later this year as citizen journalists (oh, how we hate that term!).

All you have to do is submit a short video piece starting June 26 to MySpace and NBC News’s Decisions ’08 page answering three questions:

     ”Why do you vote?”  ”Why are you the best person for this job?” “How will you stand out in the crowd and get the scoop no one else can?”

A panel from MySpace and NBC News will narrow the submissions down to five finalists. The final two will be selected by MySpace members starting July 21. The winner will be announced on July 29.

Bud’s advertising: Drink it in while it lasts


What would a combined InBev/Anheuser-Busch do with advertising? It’s one of the questions already being tossed around in the wake of InBev’s $46 billion bid for the brewer of Bud and Bud Light.

One obvious problem for Anheuser-Busch, which spends about $475 million each year on advertising, is that their marketing focuses heavily on the idea of being an All-American beer and company.

That may not play so well when you’re owned by a company based in Belgium, we reported.

Semel, Kotick pass the buck on Yahoo’s future

semel.jpgTalk about passing the buck.

During a panel discussion on media and entertainment at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel swiftly deflected questions about the Internet company’s current pickle with Microsoft to his fellow panelist and Yahoo! board member Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

Asked by moderator Dennis Kneale of CNBC how Yahoo had gotten itself in the position of being courted by Microsoft, Semel pointed to Kotick, who was sitting next to him.

“Ask the board member,” he said.

kotick.jpgBut Kotick wouldn’t bite. In fact, he said nothing at all.

Later on, Kneale tried again, asking another panelist, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, to tell Semel and Kotick what Yahoo! should do in response to Microsoft’s $44 billion bid.

Trouble in FIM-land

myspace.jpgNews Corp jewel Fox Interactive Media (a.k.a the catchy “FIM”) made a late-night admission that its revenue might fall short of a $1 billion target for the current fiscal year.

The division that houses teen hangout MySpace is also revamping its advertising sales division to embrace a new technology that mines user profiles on the social network site to serve visitors more individually-tailored ads.

“We expect to be close to our target,” FIM said of its revenue for fiscal 2008. One company source said the timing of the new ad technology could be partly to blame for any shortfall.

MySpace Music: What the experts think.

myspace_music-primary_logo-black.jpg Was it any coincidence that Apple decided to trumpet its victory as the biggest U.S. retailer of music on the same day the world’s biggest social network declared its intentions to provide an alternative?

Who knows? What’s certain is Apple now faces another in a growing legion of competitors aiming to chip away at its dominance.

Here’s what the experts think:

James McQuivey, analyst at Forrester Research:
“A MySpace music store is exactly the right step to get the music industry to the next level because it recognizes that consumers don’t just buy music, they experience it, which is a much larger concept — they share, they discover, they heckle, they even use it to provide self-identify. That’s what people do with music already on MySpace, it’s what has made Last.FM and so popular so quickly. But none of those experiences take it to the next level, allowing consumer to integrate buying music and related things. ”

MySpace Music: Any day now, actually today…

chrisdewolfe.jpgMySpace has sent out a ‘breaking news’ media advisory for a news conference featuring CEO Chris de Wolfe (left) at 11am ET, which we presume is about the launch of MySpace Music as Reuters reported yesterday to be coming in days.

Silicon Alley Insider reported later yesterday that Universal Music Group had settled with MySpace for $100 million, a figure we also confirmed from our source. The November 2006 lawsuit was the main sticking point for getting MySpace Music off to a flying start. With a third of the recorded music market under its thumb, Universal’s participation was seen as critical to the new service’s success.

MySpace’s parent News Corp. will own the majority stake of MySpace Music while Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group will each have a minority stake proportional to their market size, say our sources. The music companies also have an eye on a possible spin-off of the music company in the future, said one source.