Spotify boss who signed Harry and Meghan podcast quits

Spotify boss who signed Harry and Meghan podcast quits as streaming giant cuts 600 jobs

The Spotify executive who signed up Harry and Meghan in a multi-million-pound podcast deal is leaving as the company slashes hundreds of jobs.

Chief content officer Dawn Ostroff was the driving force behind the streaming business’s move into podcasts.

She secured the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archetypes series in a deal thought to be worth £20million – but announcing around 600 job cuts and a management shake-up, chief executive Daniel Ek yesterday said Ostroff has ‘decided to depart Spotify’.

Royal drama: Chief content officer Dawn Ostroff secured the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archetypes series in a deal thought to be worth £20m

The Stockholm-based company is just the latest technology giant to feel the heat of economic uncertainty and said it would reduce its global workforce by 6 per cent.

The group employs almost 10,000 staff worldwide, with around 671 in the UK. The company said cost-cutting efforts in recent months had failed to shift the dial and more drastic changes were needed to boost business, including ‘fundamentally changing how we operate at the top’.

Ek said: ‘Like many other leaders, I hoped to sustain the strong tailwinds from the pandemic and believed our broad global business and lower risk to the impact of a slowdown in ads would insulate us. In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth.’

The company said Ostroff helped expand the podcast content by 40 times, signing major contracts with Harry and Meghan and the Obamas.

But this shift to podcast and content investment has come at a cost as the firm racked up losses of £130million in the nine months to September 30. 

Spotify’s shares have also been hit by the increasing pressure on consumer spending and a wider tech sell-off, with shares down more than 70 per cent since February 2021 heights, knocking roughly £40billion off its value.

Head of research at Enders Analysis Alice Enders described Spotify’s job cuts as ‘inevitable’ for a company that relies so heavily on advertising. 

Over half of Spotify’s 456million monthly users listen for free, meaning any global advertising slump is likely to weigh heavy on the platform.

The same advertising strain has meant mass job cuts for Facebook-owner Meta, Snapchat and Twitter too in recent months.

Tech analyst at PP Foresight Paolo Pescatore said job losses are simply ‘the flavour of the month’ for tech firms. Amazon.

Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft have announced cuts this month alone. Data website estimates over 55,000 have lost their jobs at tech firms so far in 2023, pushing the total number of job losses to well over 200,000 since the start of 2021.