DANIEL EK (CEO):
Team, Over the last two years, we’ve put significant emphasis on building Spotify into a truly great and sustainable business – one designed to achieve our goal of being the world’s leading audio company and one that will consistently drive profitability and growth into the future. While we’ve made worthy strides, as I’ve shared many times, we still have work to do. Economic growth has slowed dramatically and capital has become more expensive. Spotify is not an exception to these realities. This brings me to a decision that will mean a significant step change for our company.
Hang on a minute. You keep using the word ‘we’. That means you’re including ‘me’. So what you’re saying is, I’ve (that’s me) put significant emphasis on building Spotify. I’ve made worthy strides. But then you write about yourself and a decision you’ve made. Interesting. Already I smell a lawyer, an HR person and a reputation manager in this email, which is why you’ve spent the first six lines telling me what an asset I’ve been.
To align Spotify with our future goals and ensure we are right-sized for the challenges ahead, I have made the difficult decision to reduce our total headcount by approximately 17% across the company. I recognize this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions. To be blunt, many smart, talented and hard-working people will be departing us. For those leaving, we’re a better company because of your dedication and hard work. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. I hope you know that your contributions have impacted more than half a billion people and millions of artists, creators, and authors around the world in profound ways.
I realize that for many, a reduction of this size will feel surprisingly large given the recent positive earnings report and our performance. We debated making smaller reductions throughout 2024 and 2025. Yet, considering the gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs, I decided that a substantial action to rightsize our costs was the best option to accomplish our objectives.
17%?!? That’s the third one this year! Oh my word, what was the score on my last review ? Who’ve I upset? What job I have to do over again? Whose backside didn’t I kiss? How many times was I late? What did I say at last year’s Christmas party that might have upset someone? Jerry Smith was way more drunk but I bet he doesn’t get the chop. Oh dear…hang on a minute. That first bit. The bit about economic growth and the expense of capital. So what you’re saying is, it’s not your fault you’re going to adios me. It’s the world’s. Like it’s out of your hands. Nice. Do you have any idea the amount of sleepless nights I’ve suffered, trying to solve a Spotify problem? And rightsize? Now there’s an excuse for passing the buck I’ve never heard before.
Today, we still have too many people dedicated to supporting work and even doing work around the work rather than contributing to opportunities with real impact. More people need to be focused on delivering for our key stakeholders – creators and consumers. In two words, we have to become relentlessly resourceful.
No no no. What you meant to write was ‘less people need to be focused…’. And that old chestnut about being relentlessly resourceful? I can just see you, and whatever over-priced HR director you’re paying with what used to be my salary, trying to wriggle your way round ‘you’re going to be working much harder for longer hours as payback for me not axing you’. Oh, and I can imagine how Spotify’s shares are going through the roof. Congratulations, Daniel!
I’m not axing you. You’re one of the ones who’re staying.
“You’re not axing me? I’m staying? Oh, thank you, Mister Ek, thank you. You won’t regret this, I swear. I’m gonna work the longest hardest hours for Spotify now. I must say, I understand completely what you’re doing and it must have been very hard to write this email. Such compassion, such leadership. Long live Spotify! Viva Spotify!
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