Rolfe Winkler at WSJ's Digits dropped this one last night but surprisingly it doesn't seem to have spread yet. Winkler draws on a number of unidentified sources but he says YouTube did confirm that Christopher LaRosa, Product Manager, YouTube Music at Google, is leaving on Friday for an unnamed startup. Winkler also notes that LaRosa follows last fall's exit of Nikhil Chandhok, Director of Product - Music, Paid Subscriptions, Live Streaming at YouTube, who's now a co-founder and CEO at Bento Labs.
Wow, startups are so hot that even YouTube is worth walking out on! Should I start writing bubble essays now?
YouTube did confirm the news but they did not identify the startup.
Both his and the departure of Director of Product Nikhil Chandhok are said to have:
"resulted in part from frustrations that YouTube has been unable to launch its music subscription service in the year-plus since the first version of it was developed...Those delays have resulted from internal arguments about how the service should be designed, including what features YouTube should charge users for and how the service should be integrated with the rest of YouTube."
I was surprised that licensing negotiations weren't mentioned as an issue until I saw this statement on LaRosa's LinkedIn profile:
"Key liaison with the Music industry. Personally developed deals with all major labels that have enabled creative expression by millions of music-loving fans (e.g. Harlem Shake, JK Wedding Dance) and generated hundreds of millions of dollars for copyright owners. "
Winkler also has a number of other interesting details about the shape of the new music streaming service from YouTube in his post that I haven't seen elsewhere though I may have missed some of that news.
Note that Nikhil Chandhok is now co-founder and CEO at startup Bento Labs. He also used to be an Entrepreneur in Residence at Google Ventures so I guess it was time to leave the old school behind.
Typically such exits are bad signs for this high profile a corporate project but startup fever adds an interesting twist to the equation.
- Indie Music Takedowns Begin 'In Days' As Google Preps YouTube Music Service Launch
- YouTube Music Subscription Music Service To Launch This Summer
- YouTube & Google Play In Talks To Launch Streaming Music Services, Warner Music Cuts First Deal