The tech sector is facing a demand downturn after two years of pandemic-powered growth when it had hired aggressively.
Spotify Technology said on Monday that it plans to cut six percent of its workforce and would take a related charge of up to nearly $50m, adding to the massive layoffs in the technology sector in preparation for a possible recession.
The tech industry is facing a demand downturn after two years of pandemic-powered growth during which it had hired aggressively. That has led firms from Meta Platforms Inc to Microsoft Corp to shed thousands of jobs.
“Over the last few months we’ve made a considerable effort to rein in costs, but it simply hasn’t been enough,” Chief Executive Daniel Ek said in a blog post announcing the roughly 600 job cuts.
“I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth,” he added, echoing a sentiment voiced by other tech bosses in recent months.
Stockholm-based Spotify had benefitted from COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns because more people had sought out entertainment when they were stuck at home. Ek indicated that the company’s business model, which had long focused on growth, had to evolve.
Spotify’s operating expenditure grew at twice the speed of its revenue last year as the audio-streaming company aggressively poured money into its podcast business, which is more attractive for advertisers due to higher engagement levels.
At the same time, businesses pulled back on ad spending on the platform, mirroring a trend seen at Meta and Google parent Alphabet Inc, as rapid interest rate hikes and the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war pressured the economy.
The company, whose shares rose 5.8 percent to $103.55, is now restructuring itself in a bid to cut costs and adjust to the deteriorating economic picture.
It said Dawn Ostroff, the head of content and advertising, was leaving after a more than four-year stint at the company. Ostroff helped shape Spotify’s podcast business and guided it through backlash around Joe Rogan’s show for allegedly spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
The company said it is appointing Alex Norström, head of the freemium business, and research and development boss Gustav Söderström as co-presidents.
Even with all of the recent layoffs, most tech companies are still vastly larger than they were three years ago. Spotify had 4,405 employees in 2019, before the pandemic began, according to that year’s annual report. It had about 9,800 full-time employees as of September 30.
Bloomberg News had reported earlier that the company was planning to announce layoffs.