Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Goes Hunting for a Music Boss

Anybody want to run the music division of the world’s biggest media company? Because Google is hiring: The search giant is casting about for an executive to run its music service, which doesn’t actually exist yet.

Industry sources tell me Google has talked to several digital media executives about the job, but has yet to hire anyone. I’ve asked Google for comment and will update if I get one.

At first glance, this scenario sounds a bit like the one that MySpace went through two years ago, when it built out MySpace Music, then hired president Courtney Holt from MTV after the service had launched. In this case, though, Google hasn’t formally announced the music service and doesn’t have deals with the big music labels in place yet.

It does have executives working on the service, though. YouTube has loaned out general counsel Zahavah Levine for some time, and earlier this summer Google  (GOOG) brought on another attorney, music veteran Elizabeth Moody, to help put the thing together. And I as should have pointed out earlier (thanks to a reader for the nudge), Android head Andy Rubin is very much involved, as the project is tied to his mobile operating system.

And what, exactly, is Google Music going to be? Good question. Most music executives I talk to imagine that Google would eventually like to run a cloud-based streaming music service. But my hunch is that Google’s initial plan will be a less-ambitious download store, a la Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes–which is due for its own upgrade very soon.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald