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Industry Moves: MTV Vet John Sykes Replaces Van Natta At Project Playlist

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
Music-sharing site Project Playlist just got an instant dose of credibility in the music industry with its new CEO: *MTV Networks* veteran (and MTV co-founder) John Sykes. Sykes is replacing Owen Van Natta, who has joined MySpace. Van Natta will continue as an advisor to Playlist. 

Sykes spent more than 25 years with *MTV Networks*he started in programming, served as president at VH1, and most recently, worked on a number of broadband projects (including a co-branded cable service with *Comcast*). But he left last year after parent company Viacom (NYSE: VIA) shifted resources away from those initiatives.

With Playlist, Sykes gets to "go digital" in a more concrete, meaningful way; his ties to record label execs could help the music-sharing site broker better track licensing deals, and also help smooth negotiations with the RIAA, Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) and Universal (they've been suing Playlist since last April). The release is embedded after the jump.

Photo Credit: BreakthroughTV

Playlist Names Board Member and Veteran Media Executive John Sykes as CEO

MTV Co-founder and Former VH-1 President Replaces Owen Van Natta

Palo Alto, Calif., April 24, 2009 Playlist, the leading social media network where over 43 million music fans discover, create and share playlists, announced today that Board Member and industry veteran John Sykes has joined the company as Chief Executive Officer.  As a Co-founder of MTV, President of VH1, and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting, Sykes brings extensive operating experience and industry relationships to the company as it partners with the music industry to provide advertising, subscription and e-commerce services to music consumers.

Owen Van Natta will serve as an Advisor to Playlist.

"John was a pioneer of the MTV revolution that forever changed the music industry landscape by giving fans a whole new way to discover and enjoy music," said Bob Zangrillo, Chairman of Playlist.  "Playlist looks forward to leveraging John's tremendous track record operating media businesses and deep relationships in the music industry as it builds out the world's premier social media service."

"Creating and sharing playlists has become a phenomenon in our culture.  With over 43 million registered users, Playlist is the number one site where fans go to discover, share and enjoy their favorite music," said John Sykes, CEO of Playlist.  "Leveraging our newly forged partnerships with the music community, we can now offer consumers deep access to their music and provide the industry with powerful new revenue streams."

Playlist, one of the fastest growing sites on the Internet, continues to establish partnerships with the entertainment industry in an effort to offer a comprehensive collection of content that can be discovered, shared and monetized at

By Tameka Kee

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