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YouTube’s Music Industry Liaison Chris LaRosa to Depart for Startup

LaRosa worked on bringing YouTube plays to the Hot 100, mobile video viewing, and liaised with music industry representatives for the video streaming company.

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.

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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.