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Magic Leap Picks Up Former Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff

The longtime media exec joins the buzzy (and mysterious) "cinematic reality" startup.

Asa Mathat

Rio Caraeff, who co-founded the online music video service Vevo, is joining buzzy “cinematic reality” startup Magic Leap as its chief content officer.

Caraeff left Vevo last year after nearly six years as CEO.

Chief content officer is a new role at Magic Leap, and in it, Caraeff “will be responsible for the development, operations and business management of Magic Leap’s cloud-based ecosystem and media network,” according to a press release. In an interview with Re/code, he called the company’s work “the most exciting thing in the last 100 years, up there with the invention of film and electricity.”

“Musicians, artists, filmmakers, game makers, everybody in every industry is looking for something new,” Caraeff said. “They’re not focused on the distribution mechanism or the business model. They’re focused on the story: How do I make someone’s heart beat faster? How do I express myself with this new medium?”

Magic Leap jumped to prominence last year when it attracted a $542 million investment round led by Google, and aims to replace the other technology in your life by way of 3-D virtual objects that “feel” real to the brain. Presumably, this would happen through a wearable device similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens, but the company raised eyebrows when it canceled a high-profile conference appearance earlier this year.

Details about Magic Leap’s mysterious technology are still largely under wraps, but in March the company released a (presumably concept) video showing an immersive robot-shooting video game.

Prior to Vevo, Caraeff spent 20 years as a music and media exec at Universal, Sony and Capitol Records. He noted, however, that Magic Leap hopes to address a “broad canvas,” making several different types of content that are not recycled from other mediums.

His first job, however, will be building up the cloud services that will let eventual users access, stream and download content.

“It’s not specific to any one type of content,” Caraeff said. “But we need to build the foundation before we decide what color the house is going to be.”

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