In what can be seen as a coup in the digital music space, AOL Time Warner
Inc. Wednesday said it lured former BMG Entertainment executive Kevin Conroy
to the newly-created position of head of its digital music division.
Conroy, who left BMG a week ago, will lead AOL Music’s strategy, which
includes including the company’s online relationships with major record
labels and the roll-out of its digital music subscription service. Conroy
will also coordinate the giant’s online music properties, including Spinner,
Winamp and the AOL Music Channel.
Conroy was formerly chief marketing officer and president of new technology
for BMG Entertainment, the music and entertainment arm of Bertelsmann AG.
With his guidance, BMG has become a force in the development and
distribution of online music through efforts like the GetMusic joint venture
with Universal Music Group and through its investments in and strategic
relationships with a broad range of media and technology companies.
“Only AOL Time Warner has all of the pieces needed to lead this industry to
the next level — tens of millions of subscribers and users, an incredible
library of great albums and songs, an industry-leading technological
infrastructure and some of the world’s best-known recording artists,” Conroy
Conroy’s statement suggests AOL just might be able to do things better in
terms of forging ahead in the digital music arena where BMG has made
unquestionably significant progress by incurring revenue streams.
Last October, Bertelsmann took a leap of faith when it pledged to help
embattled Napster transform its song-swap schema into a fee-based service
that pays royalties. BMG also launched its digital downloading program.
Conroy’s move comes at an interesting time as BMG has been garnering its
share of press for the expansion of its digital music program, which this
week added more than 2,900 tracks from popular artists like Dave Matthews
Band and TLC.
The situation may also raise eyebrows because BMG lost Tom McIntyre, its
executive vice president and chief financial officer, with Conroy — and two
weeks ago hired former journalist Rolf Schmidt-Holtz as CEO.
Schmidt-Holtz filled the position left vacant by BMG veteran Rudi Glassner,
who died of a heart attack before he was to take over the top executive