In a Paley Center for Media discussion yesterday (March 6) on Crafting Digital Media between AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and long-time media industry banker Aryeh Bourkoff, CEO of Lion Tree Advisors, Armstrong said that AOL is looking at possible music strategies and sees "gaps in the music space" (video below).
In his question to Armstong, Bourkoff mentioned that AOL Music has 30 million users and invoked Spotify’s success and Len Blavatnik’s recent investment in Beats Electronics' Daisy music streaming service before asking if AOL is building up its music business.
“Music is something that were are looking at creatively and we have some creative ideas around it,” Armstrong answered. “I don’t know exactly what we are going to end up doing. We see some big gaps in the music space and we’ve been out talking to partners about it and I don’t know whether or not we’ll invest in it, but from a clarity of opportunity standpoint there’s two or three things we see actually that are probably meaningful but I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Armstrong went on to explain that his company’s one page strategy document has four verticals – content, video, ads and commerce with each category having a few things listed beneath them. “Music is at the bottom of the content vertical,” Armstrong said, “but it’s starred because it’s one of the things that looks like there’s clear opportunity.”
The AOL CEO also spoke about content strategy, which Armstrong said was "controversial" and led to a proxy battle not long ago, but big shareholders have more recently told him they are pleased with the company's progress. "It caused us a lot of problems," but "content is so important," he said.
Armstrong also discussed the growing number of technology companies looking to become media and content players, including Samsung and Intel before conclding that there is likely not enough talent to make "awesome content" for all who want to be players in the field.
The discussion took place at New York City's Paley Center for Media.