Troy Carter Is Leaving Spotify. Is This About Censorship?

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Written by Dana Sanchez

 

Investor, entrepreneur and music industry veteran Troy Carter, 45, is leaving Spotify in September after being hired in 2016 to help fix the image problems plaguing the Swedish music streaming service.

He will stay on at Spotify in an advisory capacity until the end of the year.

There were rumors about Carter’s possible departure after he protested a short-lived rule at Spotify that punished musicians who were accused of “hateful conduct“. Carter talked openly with colleagues in the music industry about leaving, according to Bloomberg, but denied the rumors.

“There have been multiple rumors — some denied by Carter — of his departure over the last two months,” Hypebot reported. “They began after Spotify announced, then pulled back from, a ‘hate and hurtful’ policy (that) banned  XXXTentacion, R Kelly and others from official playlists. While concerned that the policy smacked of censorship, Carter denied the rumor.”

Carter was hired to be Spotify’s global head of creative service, which meant he acted as a liaison between factions that weren’t necessarily getting along. Spotify had an image problem both among artists and consumers, Variety reported.

“I serve as a sort of conduit between the music business and Spotify: labels, publishers, songwriters, artists and managers,” Carter told Variety in a January 2018 interview. “I’m a bit of a translator and a bit of a diplomat.”

As Spotify became a dominant force in the way music fans consume their favorite songs, artists complained about not getting enough royalties. They were concerned about how they could gain a following and make money on Spotify’s streaming music platform, which has thinner margins than the traditional record business, Reuters reported.

Hip-hop artist Jay-Z famously removed his solo catalog from Spotify and Apple Music in 2017, three months after Sprint purchased a 33-percent stake in the artist’s own streaming platform, Tidal. Two of his solo albums were available on Spotify for the first time in more than a year As of July 9, according to XXL.

In an article entitled “10 Things I Hate About Spotify,” complaints include:

  • The compensation to artists is unfair. with a business model that relies on a promise of compensations being made in the future.
  • The freemium strategy kills competition: You could either pay (premium) or use it for free (freemium), the latter being “a form of cut-throat pricing strategy to get rid of competition”.

A music insider, Carter has managed Lady Gaga and John Legend. He “could speak the language of all those involved,” Variety reported.

In 2017, Carter launched Spotify’s emerging artist program and a songwriters’ camp. He defended Spotify’s payment model at industry conferences.

When Carter joined Spotify, the artist community was skeptical about streaming overall, Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said Monday in a statement. “Troy has been instrumental in changing that perception.”

Carter helped Spotify establish partnerships across the industry and he built a capable, global team that embodies an artist-first approach — a philosophy that has been adopted across Spotify, Ek said. “We are in an excellent position to build on the momentum we’ve established.”

In, Spotify narrowed its Hateful Conduct policy, keeping a ban on songs “whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence” but removing terms related to an artist’s conduct, according to Reuters.

In June, Page Six reported that Carter was leaving Spotify for Epic Records. Spokesmen for Spotify and Sony both denied that, according to the report.

Other Spotify executives who have left in the past few months include:

Spotify executives exiting in the last few months include: George Ergatoudis, former U.K. division head of content programming; Tuma Basa, the man behind RapCavier and ex-head of hip-hop global programming; PR chief Angela Watts; Dave Rocco, global head of artist and label marketing and Mark Williamson, former global head of artist and industry partnerships.

 

 

 

Dana Sanchez
Image Attribution: Honoree Troy Carter, Spotify's global head of creator services, attends the UJA-Federation of New York's Music Visionary of the Year award luncheon at The Pierre on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)