Kevin Conroy, who as senior vp of worldwide marketing and new technology has overseen BMG Entertainment's new media strategy since 1998, has been promoted to chief marketing officer and president of new technology.
The new title gives Conroy the mandate to mold a cohesive, worldwide marketing view, both online and off, for BMG's $4.7 billion music and entertainment business, which encompasses more than 200 record labels, 53 countries and 30 wholly owned music and lifestyle Web sites making up the Click2Music brand.
Conroy, who initially joined BMG in 1995 as head of marketing for BMG Entertainment North America, said a key focus will be to accelerate his staff's international efforts, especially now that more than 30 countries have double-digit Internet penetration rates.
"It is a viable platform all around the world," he said. "We're now working very closely with our groups in Europe, Asia and Latin America to make sure that the approach our company is taking to support and market our artists in this new era is consistently in place all around the world."
Which means he'll be spending a lot of time on airplanes.
Conroy, who in his new role will continue to report directly to BMG president and CEO Strauss Zelnick, will also continue to oversee all corporate marketing and new media development for BMG worldwide, while also managing an expanded marketing group, which includes, among other divisions, Online Marketing, New Technology and Digital Music Distribution.
On the front burner, though, is BMG's plan to begin selling downloadable digital music in July. But Conroy cautioned that it's too soon yet to judge how consumers will react long-term to such a commercial venture.
"Our own research has told us that fans and consumers will pay for the music," he said. "But they're telling us that the music has to be the music they really want, it needs to be presented at a reasonable price and the user experience needs to be comfortable I think it all really comes down to how we present the music."
In the meantime, though, just because something can be done doesn't necessarily mean it should be. "The process has to be balanced," he cautioned. "In other words, there are artistic interests, there are business interests and there's the ability to do a lot with technology--there has to be a balance."