Ryan Nakashima: MySpace hopes to turn free songs into needed cash

Courtney Holt
Courtney Holt

In 2004, when MySpace was still getting going, recording label executive Courtney Holt noticed that musicians were using the Web site to connect more intimately with their fans, through detailed blogs and behind-the-scenes photos. So Holt arranged to meet MySpace’s founders.

“I remember going into his office when we were very small,” said MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, “when most other companies wouldn’t pay attention to us.”

Holt, then a marketing vice president with Interscope Geffen A&M, urged bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Weezer and The Black Eyed Peas to nurture MySpace profile pages too. The bands streamed new songs for free on their MySpace profiles, and some had the best album launches of their careers.

“The artists loved it and it created a Pied Piper effect for the fans,” Holt said. When it came to music promotion, Holt realized, MySpace was like a “fire hose.”

Now, Holt is being asked to turn MySpace’s attention to a music industry in flames — and in the process, to improve the mediocre finances of MySpace as it tries to fend off rival Facebook.

Three months ago, Holt, 40, took charge of the recently…

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