Wed, Jun 08, 2016 - Page 15 News List

Spotify recruits Troy Carter as liaison

NY Times News Service

As the music industry’s streaming wars intensify, Spotify is turning to the former manager of Lady Gaga to help compete against players like Apple and Tidal.

Troy Carter, known as an innovative manager for musicians and a prolific tech investor, has joined Spotify as its global head of creator services, overseeing the company’s relationships with artists, songwriters and record companies, Spotify said on Monday.

Carter could start as soon as next week and is to report to Stefan Blom, Spotify’s chief strategy and content officer.

Music executives, who had been notified of the change, said they expected Carter to take on a role roughly similar to the one that Jimmy Iovine, the longtime music producer and co-founder of Beats Electronics, holds at Apple.

That is, being a central contact for the music business, someone who speaks the same language as artists and their managers, and can help secure content for the service.

Carter declined to comment and a spokesman for Spotify declined to speak further about the deal.

Spotify, which has led the music industry’s shift to streaming, continues to face strong competition from Apple, Tidal and other services, as it has for the past year.

Exclusive content deals, like the ones that propelled new albums by Drake at Apple and Beyonce at Tidal, have emerged as the most potent form of warfare, helping those services draw millions of new subscribers and forge tight bonds with superstar acts.

So far, Spotify has been reluctant to make such exclusive deals on new albums.

“We believe long-term exclusives are bad for artists and they’re bad for fans,” Jonathan Prince, a Spotify spokesman, said in April after the release of the Beyonce album Lemonade, which is widely available for sale, but can be streamed only through Tidal.

However, Spotify has also been developing other forms of content. It recently hired Tom Calderone, a former Viacom executive, and announced a slate of original video programming, including series with the actor Tim Robbins and the veteran hip-hop executive Russell Simmons.

Spotify says it has at least 89 million regular users around the world, including 30 million who pay for subscriptions.

However, its competitors have been growing fast. Apple’s streaming service, Apple Music, has 13 million paying subscribers and the company is expected to announce a revamp of the service soon.

Tidal, which this year has had exclusives for limited periods with Rihanna and Kanye West, has said that it has 4 million subscribers. Other players include Rhapsody, YouTube and Deezer.

Last year, Spotify had US$2.1 billion in revenue, up 80 percent from the year before, and a net loss of about US$189 million. This year, Spotify raised US$1 billion in investment in the form of convertible debt, which is to put pressure on Spotify to go public within 18 months.

Carter began his career in the 1990s working with Will Smith and Sean Combs, but his crowning achievement has been his work with Lady Gaga, whom he helped to develop from obscurity in 2007 into a global superstar, capitalizing on social media and branding deals.

Carter or Atom Factory have also invested in dozens of companies including Uber, Dropbox, Warby Parker and Spotify.

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