Yahoo Loses Its Musical Soul

Yahoo Music Vice President Ian Rogers has resigned to join a new stealth music startup called Topspin Media as CEO.

This is a blow to Yahoo – Rogers is one of the few music industry insiders who have a clear vision for what the future of music should be. In 2007 he and former Yahoo Music GM Dave Goldberg told music insiders they must abandon DRM – a year later it was reality. Last year Rogers shocked the industry again when he told industry execs:

I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience. I will tell Yahoo! to give the money they were going to give me to build awesome media applications to Yahoo! Mail or Answers or some other deserving endeavor. I personally don’t have any more time to give and can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life’s too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out.

He had big plans for Yahoo Music and oversaw the sale of their subscription music service to Rhapsody. His team also bought FoxyTunes and released a browser based MP3 player.

I had the feeling that all the positioning, acquisitions and new product releases would culminate in an interesting strategy that would put Yahoo Music, at the very least, at the front of the debate around the future of music. Sadly, he leaves before that strategy could be finalized. That’s great news for Topspin, but terrible news for Yahoo and its users.