MySpace Music, the music site created by the News Corp.-owned social network in partnership with major record labels, may finally have a chief executive: Courtney Holt. He was first named as a candidate in a CNET article last week. Today, MediaMemo says his contract is almost but not quite signed.
MySpace Music launched at the end of September without a chief executive. Ex-Facebook chief operating officer Owen Van Natta and a variety of others have already been rumored as candidates for the job.
MySpace Music, a part of the MySpace site that lets users do things like create their own streaming playlists of songs, is another way that the social network is monetizing its millions of users. The music site intends to help the company and its partners make money through generating traffic to run ads against and getting users to purchase things like concert tickets and digital song tracks.
Holt has a strong background in the music industry. He has previously led new media initiatives at major record labels, and he is currently MTV Network’s executive vice president of digital music and media, where he oversees MTV: Music Videos, VH1 and CMT.
If he becomes the site’s new chief executive, Holt will have the tailwinds of MySpace’s sales success and user numbers at his back — and the headwinds of dropping ad spending and purchases to his front. Although Facebook has overtaken MySpace worldwide, MySpace still leads in the U.S. with 73 million (mostly young) users — a very lucrative advertising market.
Which is why MySpace continues to do well on the money-making front. It’s a bright spot in News Corp.’s old media-heavy portfolio, as the largest component of the conglomerate’s Fox Interactive Media division (FIM). Today, News Corp.’s quarterly earnings report shows FIM with a 17 percent revenue increase due to ads on MySpace; FIM has already brought in $719 million so far this year. We’ve previously heard MySpace might bring in up to $1 billion by year’s end, but the economic downturn is already starting to affect general online advertising spending — and FIM, it reported today.