Well, they took their time, but the popular music site Project Playlist will make two announcements tomorrow: They’ve hired former Facebook Chief Revenue Officer Owen Van Natta as CEO, and they’ve closed a new round of financing.
We’ve been digging on this story for weeks, but the company wouldn’t confirm the rumors and actually asked one of our writers to leave their office when we sent him over there to figure out what was going on. Apparently nothing was final then.
The size of the new financing isn’t being disclosed, although we’ve heard that it was just shy of $20 million. Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group led the round. The company had previously raised around $3 million.
What will Project Playlist use the money for? Litigation settlement, to start, is our guess. They were sued by the RIAA earlier this year, and the only way to clean up those situations is with cash and equity to the labels. We’ve also heard that they’re considering an acquisition of iMeem, which also lets users create and embed playlists. That litigation is also the probable reason why Playlist won’t disclose the size of the financing – it simply tells the RIAA how big the pie is. [Co-Editor’s Note: We’re hearing that one reason it took so long for the company to name Van Natta CEO is because it was in discussions with the music labels last week. We can’t confirm whether any agreement was reached, but it is possible enough assurances were given to make the new investors, and Van Natta, comfortable enough to move forward).
Whatever happens, the site continues to grow rapidly. 9.3 million unique monthly visitors generate a whopping 822 million monthly page views according to Comscore, and the site claims nearly 40 million users.
Van Natta, who left Facebook in February to look for a company to lead, finally found his CEO job. He was an early investor in Project Playlist, and was involved in a sale attempt to MySpace that may have gotten tangled in his simultaneous discussions to become the CEO of MySpace Music.