Opinion June 18, 2018

Spotify’s revolving door – is it crisis or evolution?

Byron Jones
Staff Writer
Spotify’s revolving door – is it crisis or evolution?

The revolving door on Spotify’s executive floor continues to work overtime as the Swedish streaming service loses more influential names.

In what must be a major worry to the company, one of them is going to its uber-rival Apple Music.

Mark Williamson, LA-based global head of artist and industry partnerships, left after seven years.

He was behind the launch of the Manager Partner Program which provided artist managers with its marketing tools, and with global head of creator services, Troy Carter, as part of the creator services team.

London-based head of music culture, international shows and editorial George Ergatoudis has just been announced as Apple UK’s head of music.

Before joining Spotify in late 2015, Ergatoudis had been one of the most powerful people in the British music industry.

As head of music at the Top 40 format BBC Radio 1, he decided which acts to break and which ones to ignore.

He is said to have broken Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Ms Dynamite, JAY Z, Eminem, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams in the UK.

His move to Apple Music comes at a critical time. Spotify has 75 million subscribers and Apple has 48 million, and is expected to overtake it in the US within the next few months.

In April Dave Rocco, global head of artist and label marketing, moved to Universal Music to the newly created position of executive vice president, creative.

Global programming head of hip hop Tuma Basa left in March and this month was named as YouTube’s director of urban music.

UK-based marketing and communications specialist Angela Watts, one of the architects of the company’s expansion and highly respected, left after eight years.

Last December, head of UK and international artist and label services Kevin Brown quit after five years. He worked to develop relationships with labels in the UK, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

So why the staff changes?

Billboard suggests it’s a mixture of staff members sensing new personal challenges after its IPO, and the company feeling pressure from shareholders to streamline operations and maximise profits.

Spotify, as it enters a new era, is changing its priorities.

As of March 31, it had 3,813 full-time employees and contractors around the world.

Neatly half of its new hires this year were for research and development, Billboard said.

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