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Did Amazon Music Just Lose Its Soul?

(UPDATE 3)

Scott Ambrose Reilly (aka Bullethead) Says Farewell To Music

image from www.digitalmusicforum.com Scott Ambrose Reilly has left his post as Senior Manager of Music at Amazon to take a new position licensing  periodicals for the company's Kindle e-book reader. For the last  three and a half years Ambrose Reilly has been responsible for bring new labels into Amazon's MP3 stores worldwide and then cajoling them to remember that their is an alternative to the iTunes behemoth.

Ambrose Reilly''s shaved head earned him the nickname Bullethead two decades ago when he managed the equally fun loving rocker Mojo Nixon. Since then, he's held senior positions at Digital Club Network and eMusic prior to joining Amazon several months before the launch of the world's first DRM-free mp3 download store to include the catalogs of all four major labels and thousands of indies.

image from hawtaction.com "A few of you we're a total pain in the ass."

He's understandably proud of his role in helping Amazon to become iTune's biggest competitor and co-chair of the NARM's Digital Think Tank Operations Work Group. But the journey has not always been an easy one. "A few of you have been a total pain in the ass and really should think about trying to make this business a better place once in awhile," Reilly wrote in a Friday email to his colleagues in the music industry. (Read the full text of Ambrose Reilly's letter here.) "Maybe listen to Elvis' 'If I Can Dream' on your way into the office.  The music business and the world could use more positive energy."

Publicly, both major and independent record labels have riled against iTune's dominance of the download market and promised to support Amazon and other competitors. But, in what may be Ambrose Reilly's most recent major source of frustration, the labels quickly abandoned Amazon's wildly successful Daily Deal promotion after the first hints of pressure from Apple. "How can I not be proud of the Daily Deal that has been so successful it riled the Cupertino beast?" wrote Bullethead in his parting email.

While he's quick to credit his Amazon bosses Pete Baltaxe and Bill Carr for his successes, Amborse Reilly was one of the few senior members of the team with such a deep music industry background that encompasses the earliest days of the digital revolution.  "Bullethead wasn't afraid to push us and tell us when when we were wrong," one label executive told Hypebot. "But he also understood how our industry works and the pressures we're under."

Replacing Scott Ambrose Reilly as he moves to Amazon's Kindle team are Griff Morris who will take over his content acquisition and vendor management responsibilities and Jill Chapman who will  continue to run the operations team. Both will now report directly to Pete Baltaxe.

"Monday will be the first day in nearly 20 years I won't spend the entire day thinking, working and plotting how to get more music in front of more people..." says Ambrose Reilly. "Monday also means I get to listen to music just for pleasure.  Just because I want to and just because it moves me.  It will be lots of Tom Jones, Tom Waits, Dolly Parton, The Yayhoos and Ryan Bingham on Monday."

Read the full text of Scott Ambrose Reilly's letter here.


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