Two months ago, MySpace Music appeared ready to fill its CEO position. The new music service had whittled down the candidates to Owen Van Natta, the former Facebook executive, and Andy Schuon, a longtime music industry insider.
So how did MTV executive Courtney Holt get the job offer? As first reported by CNET News last week, Holt was offered the job to help operate what some expect will be the most significant iTunes challenger to come along in awhile. According to music industry sources, Holt has yet to accept the job as he and MySpace Music continue to wrap up negotiations. A MySpace Music representative didn't respond to an interview request.
Leading up to Holt's offer, Van Natta, who announced his departure from Facebook in February, pulled out of the running late in the process, said two sources with knowledge of the negotiations. According to them, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe had favored Van Natta over Schuon.
MySpace Music has been widely criticized for taking so long to name a chief. For now, DeWolfe and his MySpace team continue to oversee the service.
Last week, TechCrunch reported that Van Natta was no longer a candidate and offered no explanation as to why. The blog did suggest that some within MySpace's management may have been discouraged by some of Van Natta's side deals. Even as Van Natta was interviewing for the job he was trying to encourage MySpace to buy Project Playlist, a fledgling music service with a copyright lawsuit hanging over its head that Van Natta has a stake in, according to the blog.
Van Natta was unavailable to comment so we don't know for sure why he pulled out. What is known is that the job has some unappealing elements.
One former candidate told me the MySpace Music CEO will be required to answer to another CEO, DeWolfe. The source added that the compensation being offered was mediocre. There's also the question of Facebook's growing dominance over MySpace.