Dave Rocco Leaving Spotify for Universal Music Group: Sources (EXCLUSIVE)

He was Troy Carter's first hire in 2016.

Dave Rocco will be leaving Spotify to take a role at Universal Music Group, sources tell Variety. Rocco will report to UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, an insider reveals. His title will be Executive Vice President, Creative.

Reps for Spotify and UMG did not immediately comment.

The move comes as a surprise given Rocco’s promotion just weeks ago to the Spotify’s global head of artist & label marketing. He had worked with Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services (pictured above, far left, with the company’s Tiffany Kumar, center, and Rocco), since shortly after Carter joined the company in 2016. Previously Rocco spent four years as EVP of Music Creative Director at advertising giant Deutsch, as well as stints at MTV and New York radio station Z100.

Along with Universal’s recent hire of Celine Joshua — who joined the company late in February with the title of General Manager, Commercial, Content and Artist Strategy — and Jay Frank in 2015 as SVP of global streaming marketing, the move points to a growing unified strategy of global streaming promotion within the company.

The comments around Joshua’s hire suggest the larger strategy at work. She will also form a new UMG label called 10:22 pm and lead a staff charged with signing and developing recording artists, social media influencers and digital media creators with a focus on creating multimedia content and advancing new forms of storytelling, according to a press release.

Speaking with Variety about his staff last year, Spotify’s Carter said, “Dave Rocco came over from Deutsch [advertising] and he worked at Z100 and MTV, so to [combine] a deep music background with an agency background and working with artists very intensely, he really knows how to launch campaigns.”

Variety has obtained both Carter’s and Rocco’s letters to the staff regarding the move. Read them below.

[Carter:]

Dear Team,

I am writing to you about a change within our Artist & Label Marketing team. I am sad to let you know that Dave Rocco has informed me about his decision to leave Spotify to pursue an external opportunity.

Dave joined Spotify in 2016 as my first hire. Together, we built an unbelievable team with a grand vision of what Artist Marketing at Spotify should be. Rocco has been an integral part of changing the sentiment of Spotify with creators, fans and the industry. Dave not only was a trusted partner to creators but a champion of our Social Impact work including Black History, No Moment for Silence, Pride, and spearheaded our support for Manchester.

We are working on identifying Dave’s successor and will keep you informed about our progress. The Artist & Label Marketing team will remain unchanged and report directly to me in the meantime. Dave’s last day will be May 6th.

Please join me in thanking Dave for his leadership and all his contributions to the organization and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

[Rocco:]

The last two years have been the most rewarding of my professional career. I have learned so much from all of you, and it’s been an honor and pleasure to work alongside each and everyone of you. I am so proud of what we have done together.

I have the utmost respect for what we have created and even more gratitude for the opportunity Daniel and Troy have given me to champion creators around the world. Creators have always been the heartbeat of this company and our most valued partner, to be able to represent that relationship is privilege I have never taken lightly.

Spotify and all of you will always have a big place in my heart and i’m excited to continue to work with you in my new role.

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