A number of high-ranking executives have suddenly departed Spotify. Hip hop playlisting extraordinaire Tuma Basa is the latest.
The influential curator of Spotify’s popular Rap Caviar playlist has just left the building.
Tuma Basa joined Spotify in 2015 as the Global Programming Head of Hip Hop. Before that, he spent four years at BET, ten years at MTV, and three years as VP of Music Programming at Revolt TV.
His exit raises some serious questions, especially given rap’s incredible importance to the platform. And, Basa’s influence on that trajectory.
Tuma Basa propelled RapCaviar to becoming one of the company’s Top 5 playlists worldwide. He was the custodian of Spotify’s top genre-specific playlist, with a massive 19 million followers. Accordingly, Basa and his team have played an important role in breaking new artists.
The list of Rap Caviar beneficiaries include Desiigner and Cardi B. But Tuma Basa doesn’t like people calling him a ‘gatekeeper,’ a label often assigned to influential curators. He considers himself as a ‘facilitator’.
Basa’s departure is part of long list of sudden exits.
Recent departures from the company include Kevin Brown (Head of UK/International Artist & Label Services), Stefan Blom (Chief Content Officer), Rob Harvey (Head Of US Label Relations), Tom Calderone (Head Of Video) and Pat Shah (Head of Original Content Licensing).
Vice President of Operations Simon Marcus also left abruptly last year, with Spotify insiders pointing to sexual abuse allegations. Neither Spotify nor Marcus responded to repeated requests for comment.
You can now add Basa to the list.
“Tuma has been an incredible asset to the Rap Caviar team, and we thank him for his contributions,” the company stated. “The Rap Caviar team, which is rapidly expanding with boots on the ground globally, is committed to building the brand and giving its users the best hip-hop experience on the platform.”
Tuma Basa’s exit comes a day after Spotify filed to float on the New York Stock Exchange.
Officially filed paperwork for a public offering with the Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC) earlier this week. We’re trying to pin down the exact timing, though it appears that Basa was exiting the building roughly 24 hours later.
Hopefully Basa has some options in his pocket. Otherwise, that’s just more billions for the remaining execs.