Spotify is fortifying its hip-hop stocks by poaching Apple Music head of curation Carl Chery for the position as head of urban.
Based in L.A., Chery will work closely with Spotify’s hip-hop editors around the globe to “take hip hop to the next level,” comments Nick Holmsten, VP, shows & editorial, in a statement.
Chery’s “expertise, passion and knowledge of hip hop culture strengthens our commitment to building the genre globally to deliver the best experience for music fans,” Holmsten adds.
A former music reporter, Chery joined Apple in 2014 with the tech giant’s acquisition of Beats Music, and went on to serve as head of hip-hop/R&B programming for iTunes and Apple Music.
Chery fills a void at Spotify courtesy of recent departure
According to Variety, Chery played a role in launching the careers of Post Malone, Cardi B and Daniel Caesar, and helped land Chance The Rapper’s award-winning Coloring Book as an Apple Music exclusive. Also, Chery arrival fills a void created by the recent departure of Tuma Basa, the respected RapCaviar curator who jumped to YouTube.
Stream Coloring Book below:
The appointment of Chery is another sign that Spotify plans to stay ahead of the curve, just weeks after its heavily publicised direct offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Last week, the Swedish-originated streamer bought Loudr, a music licensing startup that identifies, tracks and pay royalties to record labels and should create efficiencies for its new owner.
Spotify can’t sit still, what with rivals Apple Music and Amazon Prime (which overnight announced 125 million subscribers worldwide, up from 90 million last year) steaming ahead.
In content terms, hip-hop and R&B is a safe bet. Hip-hop is the No. 1 genre in the U.S. (though many observers argue urban music is over-indexed on streaming platforms), and rappers lead the current U.S. singles (Drake) and albums charts (Cardi B).
Hip-hop and R&B accounted for almost one in every four tracks consumed in the U.S. last year, more than any other genre and eclipsing rock by almost 5 percentage points, according to Nielsen Music. This in a market which grew by double digits last year, according to the RIAA.
In the first quarter, Spotify says its base of paid subscribers grew to 73-76 million, up 41-46% year-on-year, and the company predicts between 92-96 million paid premium subscribers by the end of 2018, up 30-36%.