×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Top Spotify Executive Mike Biggane Exiting for Universal Music Group

Despite its superior work environment, Sweden's streaming giant battles turnover.

Mike Biggane, Spotify’s global head of curation strategy, is leaving the company for a new position at Universal Music Group, sources tell Variety. Among the music streaming giant’s top executives, he follows the recently reported departure of Spotify’s chief economist Will Page, who will stay on as a consultant while writing a book. News of Biggane’s impending exit was first reported by Hits.

Biggane has spent nearly six years at Spotify, starting as pop editor in 2014, then rising to head of global genre groups in 2018. He was named to his current position in January of this year. He’ll stay on through the end of the summer and possibly into early fall.

At UMG, he’s expected to hold a senior cross-label role for which he purportedly received a hefty offer. Biggane joins another Spotify defector, Dave Rocco, who left his job as global head of artist and label marketing for an EVP position at UMG in April 2018. Not unlike Biggane, he Rocco had received a promotion weeks before his departure. (Spotify and UMG declined comment.)

The Swedish company’s senior turnover rate is surprising considering its corporate culture is aimed at giving employees a superior work environment and offers generous benefits. “There are smart people there, but it’s all fiefdoms,” says one source. “Nobody knows what they’re supposed to do and they don’t get along. The strategy changes every few months.”

Another points to Spotify’s own stratospheric growth, suggesting that the company is now too big for its home city of Stockholm and that CEO Daniel Ek, by not being based in New York, is effectively an “absentee manager.”

In Biggane’s case, an insider posits that, after six years at Spotify, he was looking for a change and had his sights set on a label job. As for other departures, the company’s defense is its very growth and the fast-paced nature of the technology.

Indeed, in an interview with Variety, the co-author of the book “Spotify Untold” noted that, “Spotify carries itself like a U.S. company” and that “Ek wants to compete for talent with Google, Amazon and Apple – not with regional players in Europe.”

Among the recent hires at Spotify are Chaka Zulu, who joined in April as head of artist and talent relations, and Jeremy Erlich, who started in June as head of music strategy.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Taylor SwiftMTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals,

    Taylor Swift Joins 'The Voice' Season 17 as a Mentor

    Taylor Swift is returning to “The Voice” as a mega mentor in the upcoming 17th season of the NBC singing competition series. The “Blank Space” singer will offer advice to each team of artists as they prepare for the knockout rounds in the show. Coaches John Legend and Blake Shelton took to Instagram to share [...]

  • Ric Ocasek and Alice Cooper 1989Ric

    Seven Times Ric Ocasek Surprised Us, From 'Hairspray' to Bad Brains

    In a universe of strong and eccentric personalities, Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who died Sunday at the age of 75, was certainly – and happily – an odd bird. By most accounts he was quite friendly in person, yet Ocasek, 75, always seemed distant and aloof, as if he was as hermetically sealed off from [...]

  • Lime Cordiale

    Post Malone, Manager Dre London Sign Australia's Lime Cordiale

    London Cowboys, the newly formed venture by Post Malone and manager Dre London, has teamed with Australia’s Chugg Music to sign the Sidney-based duo Lime Cordiale. The group, comprised of brothers Louis and Oli Leimbach, first released music in 2012, and by 2017 had  yielded the breakout hits “Temper Temper” and “Naturally,” followed by radio [...]

  • How Timothy Hutton Came to Direct

    How Timothy Hutton Came to Direct the Cars' 'Drive' Music Video

    It’s common knowledge — among people in the industry, at least — that Timothy Hutton is the youngest ever winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Ordinary People,” which was Robert Redford’s 1980 directorial debut. A lesser known fact is that four years later at the age of 24, Hutton made his own debut [...]

  • Lionel Richie will headline a three-night

    Lionel Richie Reveals 2020 Las Vegas Engagement

    Lionel Richie’s sold-out appearance at Wynn Las Vegas last month has led to an encore appearance at the Encore theater but with a new stage show, “Lionel Richie – Las Vegas.” Richie will headline a three-night engagement in March 2020 that will feature stories from throughout his career as well as his greatest hits. Richie’s [...]

  • SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY

    Emmy Music: 'GoT' Scores Again; McCartney, Springsteen Specials Share Wins

    Music specials had a big look going into the weekend’s creative arts Emmys, but no one ended up being the boss of the ceremonies — not even Bruce Springsteen. His “Springsteen on Broadway” Netflix film won Thom Zimny an award for direction, but it lost for best variety special, the category that would have allowed [...]

  • Long May They Run Phish podcast

    'Long May They Run' Podcast Explores Phish History for Debut Season (EXCLUSIVE)

    The band Phish will be the subject of a new podcast series. “Long May They Run” will feature the group for the series’ first season. Created, directed and produced by C13Originals, veteran music journalist and author Dean Budnick serves as writer and narrator of the podcast, which will offer a deep dive into the history [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content