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What it really means that Spotify has lost its second top marketing executive in a week

VP of brand creative Jackie Jantos is leaving the music streamer less than a week after chief marketing officer Seth Farbman’s exit.

What it really means that Spotify has lost its second top marketing executive in a week
Seth Farbman (left) and Jackie Jantos (right) [Photos: courtesy of Spotify]

Spotify has had a pretty remarkable year in its creative marketing, with everything from curated content to subway posters. (Overall, too! It went public, now has 83 million paying subscribers, and is valued by the market at about $32 billion.) Much of that work was done by the brand’s 90-person, in-house marketing team, but over the past week, the company has announced the departures of two of its top executives leading that department.

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AdAge reported yesterday that Jackie Jantos, vice president of brand creative, will be leaving the company, just five days after the company revealed that CMO Seth Farbman is leaving. In a statement last week, Farbman said, “I came to Spotify to build a world class marketing organization and establish the Spotify brand as the leader in music, culture, and innovation. By all measures, we’ve achieved those goals, but we’ve also done something most companies only dream of doing—we’ve turned affinity for the Spotify experience into love for the brand. I have all the confidence in the creative, capable team in place.”

Farbman first joined Spotify in March 2015, after four years as chief marketing officer of The Gap. Jantos came to Spotify in 2013, after serving as a global creative director at Coca-Cola.

In March, Spotify launched Black History Is Happening Nowa new content hub where artists, creatives, and organizations that are working with communities of color will tell stories through curated playlists, videos, and podcasts. Janelle Monae was the first major artist of the collaboration.

[Photo: courtesy of Spotify]
To promote the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in April, Spotify teamed with New York City’s MTA to turn Manhattan’s Broadway-Lafayette subway stop, right near where Bowie used to live in Soho, into a living tribute to the artist. It also created Bowie-inspired MetroCards in five different designs that are exclusively available at the Broadway-Lafayette stop. Though New York City-specific, news of and excitement about the effort quickly went global.

Although it’d be easy to view these exits in dire terms for the company, it’s worth recalling what Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told Fast Company earlier this year about how he manages.

He orients his leadership team around what he calls “missions”—discrete, goal-based assignments, rather than open-ended positions. Ek likens his approach to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s concept of a “tour of duty.” He explains: “You don’t have the same job for more than two years. The more honest we are about that, the better it is.” (That’s right, every two years, you have to re-up.) Ek goes on: “Very few people at Spotify last more than two or three rounds. It’s not about poor performance. At this level, it never is. It’s about future performance.”

Looking ahead, the company reportedly doesn’t have plans to replace Farbman, and that’s perhaps not surprising in light of how Ek leads. For now, it appears that Senior Global Brand Director Alex Tanguay and Global Executive Creative Director Alex Bodman will be leading the in-house marketing team.

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Spotify had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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