Spotify Content Chief Dawn Ostroff Departing Amid Cutbacks

Dawn Ostroff is departing Spotify as the company’s head of content amid cutbacks affecting 6% of the workforce.

Against a backdrop of austerity in the once-invincible tech sector, Spotify said it is shedding hundreds of jobs. In a memo to employees, CEO Daniel Ek said he had been “too ambitious” in scaling up the company. “To bring our costs more in line, we’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce our number of employees,” he explained. “While I believe this decision is right for Spotify, I understand that with our historic focus on growth, many of you will view this as a shift in our culture. But as we evolve and grow as a business, so must our way of working while still staying true to our core values.”

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Ek praised Ostroff for her contributions and said Alex Norström would assume her duties. Ostroff, a veteran of Condé Nast and the CW, joined the company in 2018.

“Dawn has made a tremendous mark not only on Spotify, but on the audio industry overall,” Ek wrote. “Because of her efforts, Spotify grew our podcast content by 40x, drove significant innovation in the medium and became the leading music and podcast service in many markets. These investments in audio offered new opportunities for music and podcast creators and also drove new interest in the potential of Spotify’s audio advertising.”

Ostroff in the near term will assume the role of senior advisor to help facilitate this transition, Ek said.

Spotify, which will report fourth quarter results next week, said it ended the third quarter with 456 million monthly active users, an increase of 20% over the prior-year period. Premium subscriptions, though, grew more slowly. They reached 195 million, up 13%.

The layoffs are the latest to rattle the tech industry, which powered the broader market for more than a decade before hitting major speed bumps in 2022. It was the worst year for tech stocks — and the entire market — since the financial crisis of 2008. Unlike that time, when social media was in its infancy and a number of start-ups still secured funding, the decision has been made across the sector to tighten the belt. The results has been tens of thousands of layoffs rippling across a field unaccustomed to them. Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon are among the companies announcing cuts in recent weeks.

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