Jon Vanhala, head of digital and new business for Island Def Jam Group and Universal Republic Records, left the company Friday. In an email to colleagues, the digital music veteran was vague in announcing the move, but expressed optimism for his future.
 
"I leave excited and inspired for next, and truly thankful for the opportunities provided me by my global UMG family," he wrote, specifying Aly Gill, Jules Ferree and Crystal Anderson in the company’s digital department as “initial points of contact for ongoing business.”
 
Vanhala gave no reason for his departure, but a source close to the situation suggested that some of his ideas may have been considered too progressive for corporate culture, and added that he may not be replaced. 
 
Vanhala had been with Island Def Jam Music Group since February 2010 and previously had worked for Universal Music Group and Verve Music Group before starting a digital marketing and consultancy business.
 
He was an early proponent of the API model to drive revenue for record labels. In February 2011 he partnered with the Echo Nest to give developers access to Island Def Jam Label Group content back in 2011. Giving developers the ability to work with data sets wrapped around music limits the label's risk and taps into developers' creativity and gets more high-quality products to market faster, he explained in a November 2011 interview with Billboard.biz. Two years after the partnership was announced, Island Def Jam has yet to produce an app through the Echo Nest.