MySpace press conference with MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta that will start at 11:45am PDT. We also just received news that MySpace did indeed enter into an agreement to acquire the music recommendation service iLike. The financial terms of the acquisition were not released.We just got an invitation to a
We will live blog the press conference, which should get underway shortly.
10:45am: Still waiting for the call to get going. These events tend to run late, so no surprise there.
10:53: Van Natta: talking about the future strategy of MySpace
MySpace has agreed to buy iLike.
Reason for acquisition: bringing world-class content to MySpace.
"MySpace is a place where people go to express themselves."
Myspace is centralized, while iLike is distributed; both have a shared belief in open content distribution.
10:56: iLike users will not notice iLike acquisition for the time being.
iLike team will remain headquartered in Seattle.
10:57: And that's it for the prepared statement from Owen Van Natta... Taking questions now.
10:58: Question: what to expect next in terms of integration? Van Natta: nothing to announce yet - but film could be involved.
10:59: Question: What will this mean for iLike and Facebook? Van Natta: social networks will like the fact that we will make iLike an even richer experience (basically, he politely deflected the question).
12:00: Question: What were the terms of the deal? What will the integration with MySpace music look like? Van Natta: will see how we can integrate the two. For now, the iLike team will continue to operate autonomously. Specifics of the deal remain under wraps.
12:01: Question: Integration? Was delay really delayed by tax questions? Van Natta: No plans yet. On taxes: "it was one of the smoother sailing deals I was involved in."
12:03: Van Natta: the web is going through a movement of socialization - a movement started by MySpace. "Culture is getting defined by the social interaction around content."
12:05: Question: Update on MySpace Music. Van Natta: MySpace music sees 200% growth in use year over year. Expects MySpace Music to remain a great experience for its users.
12:06: Followup: Does iLike's model of giving away free content conflict with the move by News Corp. to charge for content? Van Natta: sometimes people will pay for some content, sometimes content will be ad-supported. Expects MySpace to remain ad-supported.
12:08: Another integration question. What elements of the iLike service might find their way into the MySpace Music service? What will iLike bring to MySpace. Van Natta: we will extend the iLike service beyond music - leverage all the different entertainment categories. Might start adding more concert ticket-related features on MySpace (this is an area where iLike excels).
12:11: Last question: what does this mean for the iLike team? Van Natta: very talented team - we don't want to interrupt the innovation going on there and we want to nurture the talent already at iLike.
12:14: And that's it... thanks for reading. The press release is below and we will surely have more analysis of this deal in the days to come.
The Press Release
MYSPACE TO ACQUIRE iLIKE
LOS ANGELES - August 19, 2009 - MySpace today announced an agreement to acquire iLike, a leading social music discovery service. The acquisition brings together two companies who share a common vision revolving around social discovery and distribution of quality content. "The iLike acquisition advances our relentless pursuit of innovation and the need to create new distributed social experiences in music and beyond," said Owen Van Natta, Chief Executive Officer of MySpace. "We are deeply committed to bringing world class talent into all areas of the company and this acquisition demonstrates our focus on this objective."
Brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi founded iLike in 2006, and in just two years made it the largest music application across all social networks with 55 million total users and 1.5 billion monthly impressions. The entire iLike team will stay intact including, CEO Ali Partovi, President Hadi Partovi and CTO Nat Brown. All three are seasoned entrepreneurs who've held executive positions at both start-ups and Fortune 100 companies. Prior to iLike, Ali Partovi founded and sold LinkExchange to Microsoft and Hadi Partovi independently co-founded and sold TellMe Networks, also to Microsoft. Hadi Partovi also incubated Start.com (now Live.com). Brown has a deep and respected history as an early architect at Microsoft, and he was involved in the creation the first Xbox, .NET/CLR, and ActiveX/COM/OLE. "MySpace's strengths have been a long-time source of inspiration for iLike," said Hadi Partovi, President of iLike. "Combining MySpace's existing platform, reach and resources with iLike's syndication network and social discovery tools creates the potential for truly exciting innovation and commerce across any vertical entertainment category -- our combined assets now span all the major social networks. I'm enthusiastic about what this combination will mean for our users, artists, advertisers, and our staff. We are beginning an exciting new journey together."
iLike users and the artist community should expect the iLike experience to be unaffected by the acquisition. iLike will remain headquartered in Seattle.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.