When it comes to management, joint ventures such as the MySpace Music initiative unveiled on Thursday pose significant challenges. Getting competing interests to cooperate can be like imposing orders on wet cats in a burlap sack. Remember At Home, the early broadband venture? Or Tele-TV, the telecom industry’s first foray into television? They ended in disaster, as did Concert, the telecom joint venture created back in the ’90s by AT&T (NYSE: T) and British Telecom. “Joint ventures hardly ever work. Usually, the partners can’t manage the personalities or the personalities don’t meld,” says Susan Kalla, managing partner of KHX Investments, an investment company based in Greenwich, Conn.
The MySpace Music joint venture announced on Thursday has at least one thing in its favor: there’s a clear line of authority. The new CEO will report to MySpace co-founder Chris De Wolfe. That puts ultimate authority in the hands of MySpace parent News Corp (NYSE: NWS). The music publishing companies that are joining MySpace Music