Vet Zelnick will join Echo board

Zelnickmedia to pay for equity stake in co.

NEW YORK — Former BMG Entertainment chief exec Strauss Zelnick plans to join the board of online music streaming portal Echo Networks.

As part of the deal, Zelnick’s nascent entertainment venture, Zelnickmedia, will pay an undisclosed amount of cash for an equity stake in the company.

Announcement marks the first public word of Zelnickmedia’s operating activities since the vet exec formed the company after departing BMG last fall. It’s the second time Zelnick has lent his name to an online entertainment property.

In November, exec was named non-executive chairman of Gotham-based online video streaming company On2. Later that month, he was tapped for the board of since-defunct online entertainment firm Icebox.com.

Zelnick said he was drawn to Echo out of an interest in pursuing business models for online music distribution that “move beyond” file sharing of the sort popularized by Napster. Echo’s streaming service lets users set up custom playlists of streaming music and share them with friends.

“Echo’s interactive streaming music community application provides a consumer experience much more compelling than the file-sharing sites currently available,” Zelnick said.

Exec ankled the top post at BMG, along with chairman Michael Dornemann, in November, reportedly in part over disagreements with the management of parent Bertelsmann about the German media group’s controversial alliance with Napster.

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