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Interview: Chris De Wolfe: CEO, MySpace:  No Third-Party Distribution Partners

This story was written by Rafat Ali.

I spoke to Chris DeWolfe, the CEO of MySpace, on the JV announced today, and the rationale for forming a separate company on it, instead of being part of the main MySpace.

-- Why a separate JV and why not just be part of MySpace: The rationale was to unify the music industry, and that we are all aligned in the same direction. There are a lot of different projects we will be working is not just a function of them giving us their music content and us making it available for playlists. We will be working with them on original content and other things. We want to create a long term relationship.

There have been times when certain music executives have told us that different companies have build their business on the music companies' backs, and what we wanted to do was to include and incentivize them to make this work.

-- How come Universal Music suddenly became a friend?: We went out and talked to our users, with focus group, polls and determined what was the optimal online music experience, especially in a social environment. Modern music is all about letting users define their own music experience. So we mapped that up, put that together, and then went to the labels, and said: 'Here where we think the future of music industry should go, and here's how it should look. Lets do this together.' We spent the next few months putting together the business plan that made sense for us, labels and the artists. And we got the deal done fairly quickly, in music industry terms. I think they are all thinking the same way, and out of the box. CD sales are down 20 percent over last year and how do they replace it. We showed them a viable model.

As for UMG lawsuit, no comment.

-- MySpace Records: Not folded into this JV. That was a legacy deal.

-- How About EMI?: Our objective is to get all the music in the world, so we would love to have EMI involved. We have no reason to believe they don't want to be involved.

-- DRM free: There will be free streaming, obviously. Then you can buy downloads..there will be DRM-free downloads on the site, but I can't say if they'll all be DRM free. But that's where the industry is going

-- Your involvement: We will hire a CEO, who will jointly report to me and the board of directors, which will comprise of representative from every music company involved and MySpace.

-- Music vs Video on MySpace: It is not an either-or. Community is always the first priority, and music is a secondary one. Since we always had a leadership position in music industry, we are now trying to maintain it.

-- Timeline on launch: It will be an iterative process...we'll push out something and the build on it. You'll see a lot of new features done in the next 3-4 months.

-- Hulu vs MySpace Music: It is very different. This is designed around the MySpace community.

-- On working with distribution partners in the futue: This is really all about MySpace.

Pic: By Robert Scoble on Flickr

By Rafat Ali

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