Vanguard Award: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe

PGA honors MySpace co-founders

Since MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe and prexy Tom Anderson co-founded the site in 2003, online social networking has grown phenomenally popular. DeWolfe and Anderson keep up with the expanding marketplace by implementing new ideas while retaining MySpace’s promotional benefits for artists.

DeWolfe insists the News Corp.-owned site takes cues from its base. “We think the real secret is to get as much premium content as we can and get our users as much latitude as possible,” he says. In September, MySpace Music launched as a joint venture with major labels Universal, Warner, Sony and EMI. The portal allows members to create their own playlists — of which there are currently 85 million — and purchase tracks through Amazon. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide all artists with the opportunity to make a living on MySpace,” Anderson says.

MySpace provides equally potent resources for the film community. Major studio releases, such as “The Dark Knight,” regularly use the site for key commercial strategies. Additionally, MySpace launched several film and Internet television projects this year, including Ashton Kutcher’s series “Blah Girls” on MySpaceTV and Paulo Coelho’s fan-generated adaptation of his novel “The Witch of Portobello.” MySpace Primetime, a recent partnership with Hulu, enables users to post videos from Hulu’s library on their profiles.

Despite strong competish from Facebook, MySpace’s revenue rose 17% in 2008 (mainly from display ads), while DeWolfe says MySpace sees on the horizon significant profits from mobile phones and e-commerce. However, neither man believes MySpace can grow without the ongoing participation of independent artists. “The entertainment industry is a very noisy, crowded marketplace,” Anderson says. “Creative freedom and self-expression is what MySpace is all about.”

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