Nope, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton aren’t joining Amazon.com. But the fast-growing Seattle tech juggernaut recently hired another former President.
Dave Dederer, one of the founding members of Seattle rock band The Presidents of the United States of America, has joined Amazon.com as MP3 content lead.
Dederer is being a bit elusive as to what he’s doing at the company, noting in an email to GeekWire: “(Regarding) my new gig at Amazon, I refer you to the first rule of Fight Club!”
(In other words, he’s not saying much).
We spotted Dederer’s new gig on LinkedIn, with this description:
“I am leading the master recording content acquisition/licensing team for Amazon’s digital music products and services,” said Dederer, who started at the company in September.
Dederer is not a newcomer to the tech industry. After the success of The Presidents — formed in 1993 and known for hit songs such as “Peaches” and “Lump” — he went on to serve as a vice president of business development at mobile music startup Melodeo. That company was sold to H-P in June 2010, where Dederer worked on the company’s music offerings for a couple of years. He’s also a board member One Reel, which produces the Bumbershoot music festival, and Audiosocket, a music startup.
Well respected in both music and business circles, it will be especially interesting to see what Dederer accomplishes at Amazon. Dederer spoke and played a few song at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle earlier this year, talking about the fragmentation of how people listen to music as well as the reduction in places where people buy music, noting the amazing rise of Apple’s iTunes.
“I have multiple perspectives on the music business, but I do spend my day thinking about how do people want to experience music,” he said. “I don’t know how I experience music now. I don’t know how I like to do it. That’s a problem in the business, and that’s a problem I think for media and digital media in general.”
Amazon.com’s expansion into digital content has been well documented. And the new role could signal that Amazon, which now publishes books and produces its own TV shows, including six original comedy shows that were announced earlier this month, may have similar plans for the music business.
In other words, could we see Amazon.com become a new type of music label?
Amazon also has been adding new offerings to its Cloud Player music service, an attack on Apple’s dominance in online music, a rise which Dederer noted would have been “incomprehensible” ten years ago. Amazon is obviously aiming at that lead. Earlier this year, it announced licensing agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independent distributors as part of its Cloud Player push.
In other words, there’s a big playground at Amazon for online music nerds like Dederer to experiment in.