July 24, 2001, 12:00 AM

Napster hires music industry veteran as new CEO

Napster has named the former executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Bertelsmann AG`s music arm, BMG Entertainment, as its new head.

Napster, which has locked horns with the music industry almost from its birth, has appointed a high-profile music industry veteran as its new chief executive officer. New CEO Konrad Hilbers most recently was executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Bertelsmann AG`s music arm, BMG Entertainment. He succeeds Hank Barry, who will remain on Napster`s board of directors.

"Konrad`s extensive experience in the technology sector and the music business, in both the United States and Europe, makes him uniquely qualified to lead Napster into the future," said Barry.

The company says Hilbers` first task will be to oversee the launch of Napster`s new membership-based service later this summer.

Under Barry, the company worked to settle Napster`s disputes with the major record companies that sought to shut down the company and to develop a business model that makes payments to artists, songwriters and other rights holders. Barry brokered alliances with major music label Bertelsmann and with independent labels TVT, edel, and hundreds of British and European labels represented by AIM and IMPALA.

"Napster and its founder Shawn Fanning created a cultural paradigm shift, using the Internet to bring together through file sharing the largest group of music fans ever assembled," said Hilbers. "The next step is to complete the task of transforming this phenomenon into a business that respects copyrights and rewards creators. I relish this challenge and look forward to leading the team at Napster."


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