Peter Kafka

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AOL Music Boss Jumps to Start-Up

AOL Music’s most recent boss has left the company after a year. Jeff Bronikowski is now heading up corporate development and strategy for Echo Nest, a Boston-based start-up that provides data for streaming music companies.

AOL will fill Bronikowski’s position by promoting two of his deputies: Lisa Namerow will be responsible for most of the AOL Music properties, and Geno Yoham will oversee the company’s surprisingly durable Winamp platform.

At Echo Nest, Bronikowski’s job will be to generate new business for the the four-year-old start-up, which makes most of its money licensing data services to companies like MOG and Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio. One of Echo Nest’s key offerings: Tools that let music services create their own “discovery engines,” a la Pandora’s Music Genome Project.

Last year the company raised a $7 million round led by Matrix Partners.

Prior to AOL, Bronikowski had headed up Yahoo Music and put in time at Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. Earlier this year, AOL Music, which is primarily a free Web radio service, reintroduced a subscription offering.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work