MusicNet names new CEO, moves headquarters to NY pending launch

By Ron Harris The Associated Press
Tuesday October 23, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — MusicNet, the joint venture between three major record labels, named MTV veteran Alan McGlade as new chief executive Monday and announced it would move headquarters from Seattle to New York. 

MusicNet promises to launch this fall and provide subscribers with a way to download music from the Internet through various online retailers. Software maker RealNetworks formed the service with record labels Warner, BMG and EMI. 

A competing service from Universal and Sony, called pressplay, is also set to launch this fall. No firm launch date has been set for either service. 

The MusicNet board of directors confirmed McGlade as CEO Friday. He replaces RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser at the top MusicNet post. 

McGlade previously headed The Box Music Network, an MTV Networks company that provided 24-hour, interactive music television. 

“I want to create a huge community of users,” McGlade said Monday. He acknowledged that MusicNet’s early days would be a process of “trial and error,” but promised to seek more content from labels not yet licensed with MusicNet. 

MusicNet’s long-term goal is too amass partnerships and provide a platform to deliver as much music online as possible, McGlade said. He did not rule out working with Sony and Universal. 

“We need to acquire all the music that is out there,” said McGlade, who also will serve on the MusicNet board of directors. 

Much of the demand for online music grew from the popularity of Napster, which the recording industry sued in an attempt to stop the unauthorized trade of music files over the Internet. 

Napster has been offline since July, but says it will relaunch in the near future. It is now primarily financed by Bertelsmann AG, the German media giant that owns the BMG record label. Napster also struck a deal to license music from MusicNet earlier this year, marking a turnaround from days past when everything on the service could be had for free. 

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is investigating MusicNet and pressplay for allegedly anticompetitive practices. Both companies were recently subpoenaed to produce documents related to their formation and planned operations. 

Glaser, who remains chairman of MusicNet, said the company is cooperating fully with the investigation. MusicNet will try to win over users by convincing them the network is easy to use, he said. 

“We have to remind people of the incredible value you get when you get access to a catalog with tens of thousands of selections,” Glaser said.