Zune Marketing Exec Chris Stephenson Leaving For Universal Music

Posted Aug 27, 2009

Chris Stephenson is a marketing executive for the Microsoft Zune.  Stephenson has decided to leave the company in order to take a position with Universal Music Group according to a source with The Wall Street Journal.

It is rumored that Stephenson will be joining as the chief marketing officer at Universal’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records.  Stephenson will be reporting to Jimmy Iovine.

Iovine is often credit for passing Eminem’s demo tape to Dr. Dre.  Iovine also co-produced the movie 8 Mile.  Before Iovine started Interscope, he was an engineer for John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.  Iovine also produced albums for Tom Petty, Patti Smith, U2 and Dire Straits.

Stephenson said that he was looking forward to returning to the entertainment industry.  Before working at Microsoft, Stephenson was an executive at MTV.  Stephenson joined Microsoft around 2006 to help market the Zune.

The Zune has been struggling to compete against the Apple iPod.  And Stephenson’s departure comes at a time where Microsoft is close to shipping the Zune HD.  The Zune HD is expected to arrive on shelves on September 15.

Stephenson often times compared the iPod to Mount Rainier in Seattle.  The snow-covered mountain is just as difficult to climb as it is for Microsoft to compete with the iPod market share.