Spotify Hires Disney Executive to Oversee Video, Podcasts

Spotify Ltd. has hired Walt Disney Co. Disney executive Courtney Holt to oversee original video and podcasting for the world’s largest paid music service.

Holt, who worked in the music industry earlier in his career, will try to bring order to Spotify’s efforts beyond music, an ongoing struggle for the popular on-demand music streaming service. He inherits a job recently vacated by long-time TV executive Tom Calderone, who had been hired to produce original series. Spotify is now shifting its strategy to focus on embedding music videos and other music footage into its playlists.

Spotify has yet to secure broad rights for most of the music videos it would like to use, a source of tension with music rights holders, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be identified discussing private talks. Rights holders are wary of Spotify’s new pursuits, which threaten to shrink their share of the company’s sales.

Spotify is also about to announce a new slate of original podcasts, an effort to grab users from rival Apple in a medium of growing interest.

Holt joined Disney when the entertainment giant acquired Maker Studios, an online video company that works with YouTube stars. Holt ran Maker for a couple years, shifting into a broader Disney role at the end of 2016.

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