Project Playlist Fills CEO Void With MTV Co-Founder John Sykes

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Owen Van Natta is unceremoniously leaving Project Playlist to run MySpace, Project Playlist has announced that John Sykes will be stepping in as CEO. Sykes is a co-founder of MTV, former president of VH1, and former president of Infinity Broadcasting, one of the largest radio broadcasting companies in the US. Sykes has been a boardmember at Playlist up until this point.

Project Playlist is a decidedly troubled company. After showing very impressive traffic numbers late last year, Playlist saw its traffic plummet after its embeddable playlists were removed from both MySpace and Facebook, which were threatened with lawsuits by the major music labels. Under the guidance of Van Natta, who only joined the company in November, the company had been making some headway with music industry. With his extensive background in the music industry Sykes may be able to keep Playlist on the right track, but Van Natta’s abrupt departure isn’t exactly a vote of confidence in the company.

Full press release below:

Palo Alto, Calif., April 24, 2009 – Playlist, the leading social media network where over 43 million music fans discover, create and share playlists, announced today that Board Member and industry veteran John Sykes has joined the company as Chief Executive Officer. As a Co-founder of MTV, President of VH1, and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting, Sykes brings extensive operating experience and industry relationships to the company as it partners with the music industry to provide advertising, subscription and e-commerce services to music consumers.

Owen Van Natta will serve as an Advisor to Playlist.

“John was a pioneer of the MTV revolution that forever changed the music industry landscape by giving fans a whole new way to discover and enjoy music,” said Bob Zangrillo, Chairman of Playlist. “Playlist looks forward to leveraging John’s tremendous track record operating media businesses and deep relationships in the music industry as it builds out the world’s premier social media service.”

“Creating and sharing playlists has become a phenomenon in our culture. With over 43 million registered users, Playlist is the number one site where fans go to discover, share and enjoy their favorite music,” said John Sykes, CEO of Playlist. “Leveraging our newly forged partnerships with the music community, we can now offer consumers deep access to their music and provide the industry with powerful new revenue streams.”

Playlist, one of the fastest growing sites on the Internet, continues to establish partnerships with the entertainment industry in an effort to offer a comprehensive collection of content that can be discovered, shared and monetized at