When it was verified that Google is now actively seeking a new Head of Music, Billboard drew up the inevitable cast of “Six Names Likely Mentioned in Google’s Search for Music Chief.”
I’ve noticed that when I attend digital conferences, Meet-Ups, Tweet Ups, and assorted gatherings, it’s very rare to run into other digital music industry folk. I’m not surprized that Billboard.com, being a music publication, went in the direction solely drawing from digital music executives. Google’s hiring process is legendary. The job descriptions for music personal request applicants to have a Masters (no shock now in this ever-growing MBA culture) or a PhD. While the six men listed in the Billboard.com article have amongst them some impressive bullet points, not all of them fit those requirements despite their endless public speaking engagements.
To give him due credit, Anthony Bruno, the writer of the article had one extremely interesting choice I immediately thought of upon hearing the news -his “dark horse” Uni-Motown EVP Cameo Carlson. This inspired me to ponder why there weren’t more women on the otherwise usual suspects list. It felt like he also lost steam on the ‘con’ side and abandoned it altogether by the end of the article. I’d like to offer up some other female candidates:
1. Cameo Carlson- yes, she’s already been mentioned but Bruno didn’t quite do her justice. Carlson was the Head of Label Relations for iTunes. She thrived in Silicon Valley before heading back to the East Coast to work for Universal. In 2008 Billboard named her one of the Top Mobile Execs. Last year she was promoted from SVP to EVP -one of only a handful of women at the top of the digital music game. Cameo doesn’t “get” the game, she owns it.
2. Karin Gilford- the former Yahoo! exec was Ian Rogers (named on Billboard’s & now Hypebot’s lists & has summarily declared he is not interested) who ascended to be the GM and Vice-President of Yahoo! Entertainment (which music fell under.) She is one of the smartest women I’ve ever encountered. Currently the SVP for Comcast-owned Fancast and Online Entertainment, Gilford could easily strategize wisely in this role.
3. Caterina Fake the quirky co-founder of Flickr and the online social network Hunch. Caterina has already taken a successful product within a large corporation in Silicon Valley. She has a unique approach, champions the entrepreneur and has used engaging questions to allow user collaboration to help ‘the almighty algorithm’ match their needs and grow community.
4. Gina Bianchini- the co-founder of Ning holds an MBA from Google Founder’s alma mater, Stanford. She left Ning in March and has been Executive In Residence (EIR) at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. This could be just the launch to get the Silicon Valley native back in the driver’s seat.
5. Nikke Slight- one of the original Queens of ‘New Media’ she founded the digital department at Atlantic Records helping artists including Matchbox Twenty to T.I. to Bjork carve out their brands on multi-platforms. This Brit is one smart woman that defined what new media means to music.
6. Amanda Marks – currently the EVP and GM of Universal Music Group, Marks has been guiding Universal’s digital business group since 2001 bringing eLabs into its full destiny. Rumor has it she has an enviable two-step.
Thinking outside the box is what makes Google powerful. Breaking the mold is a quality that is embedded in the fabric of these women’s minds. (Disclosure: The only one of this amazing group I haven’t met is Gina.) Google kindly check out these women as I know you have a long history of elevating the right talent to the top regardless of gender. Men have dominated in the digital music game and I think it’s time for a female perspective to take the reins.