The MySpace Music CEO Candidate Shortlist

Get ready to start hearing a lot about MySpace Music, a huge joint venture project between MySpace and the big music labels. One big question about the project remains: who will be the CEO of the new company. We’ve gathered a shortlist of candidates that MySpace has interviewed.

The project was first announced in April along with a related settlement with Universal Music over a copyright infringement lawsuit.

The project is on pace to launch in September, and MySpace is finalizing third party relationships. Amazon, for example, is likely to handle music download sales and fulfillment. Music download sales are just one revenue stream for the property. In addition to sales of DRM-free music (singles, albums, playlists), MySpace Music will likely also offer ring tones, concert tickets, merchandise (tshirts, etc.) and branded advertising campaigns.

Most aspects of the project are reportedly on pace for the launch, but MySpace has failed to find a CEO for the project. CEO Chris DeWolfe and COO Amit Kapur have been interviewing people since late 2007. Their top candidates (Ian Rogers and David Goldberg) bowed out early, and we’ve heard from sources close to MySpace that they’ve been unable to find the perfect candidate since then.

Here’s who we’ve confirmed MySpace has interviewed for the top job at MySpace Music:

Jim Bankoff

Jim Bankoff is a Senior Advisor with Providence Equity Partners, the leading Private Equity firm focused on media and telecommunications. Prior to joining Providence in 2008, Bankoff served as Executive Vice President of programming and products at AOL. He presided over consumer web sites such as Moviefone, MapQuest, BloggingStocks, AOL Music and Engadget.

Michael Bloom

Michael Bloom is currently SVP & GM, Digital Media at MTV. He moved to run the Joint Venture between MTV and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody September 2007, but he has since returned to his previous position. We hear he never seriously considered the position.

David Goldberg

David Goldberg was the General Manager of Music at Yahoo until February 2007 before becoming an entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital. Like Ian Rogers, below, he was one of MySpace’s top candidates for the job. He’s married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, which would create a bit of competitive stress around the dinner table.

Jim Pitaro

Jim Pitaro is currently the Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo Sports but was previously with the Launch music team. Pitaro was Vice President of Business Affairs for LAUNCH Media prior to the 2001 acquisition. After the acquisition, he transitioned to Vice President and Head of Business Affairs for Yahoo! Music until his transition to the sports team.

Ian Rogers

Ian Rogers was the general manager of Yahoo Music before heading to Topspin Media in April 2008 as CEO. He has all the attributes MySpace was looking for – proven leadership, deep knowledge of and ties to the music industry, and a willingness to shake things up. Along with Goldberg, above, Rogers was the guy MySpace wanted to run the new company.