Spotify’s billion dollar war with music publishers is intensifying. Can the right people fix this problem?
As Spotify’s pre-IPO valuation soars to $16 billion, there’s a pesky fly in the ointment. Major labels are receiving billions in guarantees annually, but music publishers are crying foul. The result is a raft of lawsuits — with potentially billions in damages ahead.
All of which could put a damper on Spotify’s broader valuation. At least until these damn lawsuits go away.
Now, Spotify is looking to hire a seasoned publishing executive to help resolve the issue.
Just this weekend, the company opened a job req for a ‘Music Publishing Analyst’. The Analyst will advise top executives on the tricky publishing terrain, and hail from the publishing industry itself.
The role itself involves lots of data analysis within Spotify’s ‘publishing org’. According to the job description, the top responsibility is to ‘perform analyses on large sets of data to extract actionable insights that will help drive decisions relating to publishing’.
Exactly what all that data analysis will accomplish is unclear, though it suggests that the streaming platform is still struggling to understand publishing complexities. Accordingly, the second listed responsibility is to ‘communicate data-driven insights and recommendations to key stakeholders in the publishing org.’
The req also alludes to a new strategy on publishing.
Specifically, the req calls for the analyst to ‘take a lead in utilizing data to form insights that guide our burgeoning publishing strategies, and help senior decision makers understand the publishing landscape.’
Additionally, the hire will ‘utilize data and insights to help in building relationships with the publishing community.’
Perhaps most importantly, the job lists a prerequisite of three years experience within the publishing industry. That specifically includes work at a ‘music publisher, PRO, or collecting society’.
The move comes on the heels of a bold pushback against mechanical licenses.
The job posting comes several weeks after Spotify attorneys reversed course on a contentious publishing license. Specifically, the company declared the mechanical publishing license as not applicable to streaming services, preluding a major legal fight ahead.
Meanwhile, the streaming company is battling multiple lawsuits against publishers over mechanical licenses, with National Music Publishers’ Association CEO David Israelite promising a drawn-out war.
Other possibilities abound. The mechanical license itself may not apply to streaming services at all, and there isn’t a law or court decision affixing the license to platforms like Spotify. Whether Spotify is aiming to reduce that liability in court remains unclear, though US Copyright Law does permit direct licensing deals with publishers that would supplant existing statutory licenses.
Meanwhile, investors could develop cold feet amidst mounting legal headaches. That would explain why Spotify sought to resolve earlier mechanical lawsuits with two settlements, collectively valued at more than $70 million. Now, the streaming giant may be regretting those concessions, though the settlements do not constitute legal precedents.
The position is open for a candidate in either New York or London. Here’s the complete job requisition.
Music Publishing Analyst
New York, USA
At Spotify our mission is to provide the world’s best platform for artists, creators, and fans. The Content team at Spotify is responsible for driving many business critical and innovative strategic initiatives, including developing commercial relationships with publishers, songwriters, artists and labels, partnering with podcast and video creators, and understanding how users discover and consume music, podcasts, and video.
We’re looking for a data analyst to support our strategy for Music Publishing. You’ll get the opportunity to explore listening behaviors across millions of music fans, and help translate those data patterns into insights that will inform the decision making and strategic planning for our efforts in publishing.
*Please note this role can sit in New York City or London*
What you’ll do:
- Perform analyses on large sets of data to extract actionable insights that will help drive decisions relating to publishing
- Communicate data-driven insights and recommendations to key stakeholders in the publishing org
- Take a lead in utilizing data to form insights that guide our burgeoning publishing strategies, and help senior decision makers understand the publishing landscape
- Utilize data and insights to help in building relationships with the publishing community.
- have at least 3 years experience of working in music publishing; at a publisher, PRO or collecting society.
- have a degree in science, computer science, statistics, economics, mathematics, or similar quantitative discipline
- are a communicative person who values building strong relationships with colleagues and stakeholders
- have a deep understanding of numbers and business models, and experience extracting insights from large datasets to drive key business strategies
- are capable of tackling very loosely defined problems
- have the technical competence to perform data extraction and analysis, with some of the following:
- Experience with SQL or R
- Data Visualization experience (e.g., Tableau, Qliksense)
- Coding skills (such as Python, Java, or Scala)
We are proud to foster a workplace free from discrimination. We strongly believe that diversity of experience, perspectives, and background will lead to a better environment for our employees and a better product for our users and our creators. This is something we value.