Chris Gorog, the long-time CEO of Napster, along with president Brad Duea, are leaving the company, as part of a reorganization at the music streaming service. The departure of the two men comes just a year-and-a-half after they led the sale of the firm to Best Buy for $121 million. At the time of the deal, Gorog and Duea both signed employment contracts with the big box retailer that were set to expire in March 2012.
Best Buy, however, says it is eliminating both jobs, in order to “streamline Napster’s executive structure and more effectively integrate Napster’s corporate activities into Best Buy.” Christopher Allen, who was Napster’s COO, is taking over as Napster’s GM and will report directly to Best Buy SVP Chris Homeister.
Under Best Buy, Napster has been mostly quiet, although the company did begin to let subscribers keep five songs a month last May, likely as a way to give customers a reason to use its service over free offerings like Last.fm and Pandora.
Staci adds: What Gorog didn’t say in the blog post announcing his departure is that he was pushed out, as Gigaom reported and we’ve confirmed. The firing was the combo of frustration with the lack of results and a desire to run Napster directly from Best Buy’s Minnesota HQ where it is “owned” by Homeister.
It’s a fairly typical drill when a company reaches out of its comfort zone — and spends a lot of money on the way. I’m not sure why Best Buy expected results to be much different once it owned Napster. It didn’t help MusicNow to be owned by Circuit City and it’s not like Best Buy has suddenly found subscription-sales religion in its stores.