MusicNet has picked former MTV Networks exec Alan McGlade as its new president and chief executive, as the major label-backed digital music company ramps up its plans to launch a consumer offering before the end of the year.
McGlade will oversee the final development and rollout of the subscription-based service, as well as programming, distribution and content relations, once MusicNet is up and running. Exec will also serve on the company’s board of directors.
MusicNet also said it will move its corporate headquarters to a yet-to-be-selected office in New York City, where it will be closer to its content and distribution partners. The company’s technology and product-development infrastructure will remain in Seattle.
McGlade replaces interim CEO Rob Glaser, who held the job part-time as the chief of MusicNet equity partner RealNetworks. Glaser will remain chairman of the board. Meanwhile, Richard Wolpert, a strategic adviser to MusicNet who had been the company’s public face in recent months, will step back from the company’s day-to-day operations.
Glaser came under fire last summer from fellow MusicNet content partners Warner Music and EMI after the exec announced a deal to license the service to the infamous file-swapper Napster. Both label groups quickly released statements saying the service would get none of their content until it had proven it could protect the music from piracy.
MusicNet is 40% owned by RealNetworks, and AOL Time Warner, EMI and German media giant (and Napster ally) Bertelsmann each hold a 20% stake. MusicNet and rival Pressplay (which is backed by Sony and Vivendi Universal) are both set to bow by year’s end.
Outside the Box
McGlade has spent most of his career at the intersection of technology and entertainment: He spent six years as president and CEO of request-driven musicvid channel the Box, which was acquired by MTV in 1999, then merged with sister channel MTV2 in January. He oversaw the launch of the Box’s six digital video channels, as well as its Web-based request service the Box Online.
Prior to heading up the Box, McGlade was president of StarNet, which provided digital marketing and advertising services for cable TV channels. He also founded Adlink, a satellite-based ad distribution service.