YouTube's Music Industry Liaison Chris LaRosa to Depart for Startup
It's still full steam ahead for YouTube's music service, however.
Chris LaRosa, a product manager responsible for liaising with publishers and labels on behalf of YouTube, has left YouTube/Google, a source has confirmed to Billboard.
LaRosa was with YouTube for seven years, reporting to product director Shiva Rajaraman. During his time at the video site he played a key part in bringing music videos to mobile platforms, YouTube's inclusion (for U.S. plays) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, among other things. LaRosa will be joining a longtime associate at a new startup with no relation to the music business.
A source at Google contradicted a report from the Wall Street Journal that LaRosa's departure would delay the launch of YouTube's forthcoming music service. "It's a loss and he will be missed, but there are several people, senior and front-line, working on music. We're not that concerned, from a product perspective," they said, emphasizing that his departure would have no effect on any forthcoming products.
The video streaming behemoth has had a busy few months, drawing ire from indie representatives over its negotiating tactics on the new streaming service, which eventually resulted in a formal complaint being filed against the company to the European Commission.
On the plus side of things, the company recently struck a partnership with Universal Music Group on Awesomeness Music, a project launched under the Dreamworks Animation tent (which UMG head Lucian Grainge sits on the board of) as Awesomeness TV, a multi-channel network started by TV producer Brian Robbins, veteran music exec Steve Rifkind and hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons.