Yahoo Music Head Leaving for AOL
Yahoo Music head Jeff Bronikowski is leaving to take the top job over at AOL Music, Billboard has learned.
AOL confirmed the news, and will update employees in an internal memo going out Tuesday, an AOL spokeswoman said. His new title is vp and head of music. He will relocate from Los Angeles to AOL's New York offices and will report to Kerry Trainor, senior vp/GM of AOL Entertainment.
Yahoo was not immediately available for comment, so it's not yet clear who will take Bronikowski's place or what the plans are for Yahoo's music division. Bronikowski has been with Yahoo since this February, but the music industry will remember him best as the senior VP of business development at Universal Music Group, where he worked for more than 11 years.
After a brief stint at Classic Music, he went to Yahoo to take the place of the former Yahoo Music head Michael Speigelman, who moved to a different role within the company. (Trainor is also a Yahoo alum. He was head of global media products at Yahoo Music and joined the company when Yahoo acquired Launch Media.)
AOL Music has been looking for a new GM for months, hiring executive search firm Spencer Stuart to assist in the effort in May. Since then a number of former digital music and label executives have been contacted for the job.
“Jeff’s vast experience working with artists and labels, his passion for music and entertainment trends and his proven ability to manage a creative team while growing an innovative business make him an excellent addition to AOL Media,” said Trainor in a prepared statement. “He joins a talented team and I know they look forward to working with him.”
There's been a lot of turnover at AOL since former Google president Tim Armstrong took over as CEO last year, replacing many outgoing staffers with ex-Google employees. Most notably, former Googler David Eun now runs all AOL's media properties, replacing Bill Wilson. Other positions in advertising, PR, business development and more are also now held by former Google employees.
Of course Google has no music division, at least not yet, so AOL could hardly raid the company's ranks for an executive to lead AOL Music. Google for its part is reportedly staffing up quickly for a potential 2010 launch of its planned music locker service. Sources say the company is focusing heavily on building an e-commerce team in particular, as well as looking for an executive to lead the overall music team. Former Rhapsody executive Tim Quirk was recently hired to oversee content and programming.
Other digital music services also said to be hiring include Spotify, which would have to staff up a U.S. division to manage its long-promised U.S. launch, and perhaps even Apple, which has yet to fully outline its plans for a streaming music service.