RealTime IT News

Listen.com Founder Exits, Real Restructures

For the third time this year, RealNetworks has reshuffled its management deck.

The latest restructuring sees the departure of Sean Ryan, vice president of music services, who joined RealNetworks as part of the $36 million Listen.com acquisition.

RealNetworks said Ryan is leaving to pursue other business opportunities.

The digital media delivery firm announced plans to integrate its RealPlayer and Music Services businesses into a single unit under the direction of Robert Acker, the former XM Satellite Radio executive who joined the company in July this year.

RealNetworks said the merging of the two units would put all its subscription and digital download offerings -- the flagship RealPlayer, the RealPlayer Music Store, RadioPass and the subscription-based Rhapsody music service -- in one place.

The restructuring comes on the heels of Real's recent moves to trigger an old-fashioned price war in the music download business and a public tiff with rival Apple over access to the iPod device.

The recent 49 cents a song gambit was hailed as "the most successful music promotion in the company's history" with RealNetworks selling more than 3 million songs over a three-week period.

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said the restructuring was part of a long term plan to include the new Harmony Technology in a new version of Rhapsody, which came with the Listen.com purchase.

Harmony is a DRM translation technology that lets users shift their purchased music from one media device to another, across different codecs, DRM systems and platforms. In addition to all four generations of Apple's iPod, Harmony works with digital media players from Creative, iRiver, RCA, Rio, Samsung and palmOne.

Real also announced that former Listen.com executive Niranjan Nagar will take over as General Manager of Music Services.

In April, RealNetworks announced the departure president Lawrence Jacobson, who ran the company's international operations. He was replaced by Dan Sheeran, the company's vice president of marketing. The shake-up also included promotions for Edmund Mesrobian, who is now COO, and Karim Meghji, who is now vice president of the video services division.