New York Spotlight

By
Arielle Schwalm

Spotify is a groundbreaking global music streaming service available on multiple platforms. It has offices all over the world, including one in New York that employs four Berklee alumni. The Big Apple alumni team includes Dave Altarescu ’02 (the U.S. director of marketing), Katie Schlosser ’04 (the director of label relations for North America), Bryan Grone ’08 (a label relations account manager), and Ron Ubaldo ’09, (the manager of content operations).

An emerging force in the changing music industry, Spotify was launched in Sweden and is a relative newcomer to the American market. The alumni who work in the New York office have found that their music education provided applicable and transferrable skills. “Being a music business major at Berklee forced me to be forward-thinking because the industry is constantly changing,” Grone says. “You have to always know the latest trends.” Altarescu claims that, thanks to his experiences at Berklee, making presentations in boardrooms is a situation in which he is comfortable. “Standing up weekly in vocal classes and in public performances at the Berklee’s 939 Café, I learned to become a storyteller,” he says. “I also learned how to manage a team from bands that I played with and MP&E classes I took.”

Users can access the Spotify service for free if they view advertisements or ad-free if they pay a low monthly premium. By making nearly 20 million songs accessible and easy searchable for its users, the company is doing its part to combat music piracy. “Fifty percent of Spotify users are under 29 [years old],” Schlosser says. “They make up the highest percentages of both free and paid users. These people are from a generation [to whom] paying for music isn’t the norm, so having them use our service is great.”

The service is changing the way consumers listen to music and also how artists interact with their fans. In the digital age, where so many illegally download music, Spotify accurately tracks streams in order to properly compensate the artists and the rights holders. The social media integration that Spotify offers also enables artists to interact directly with their fans. By creating playlists and sharing music to Facebook, artists can create newfound relationships with their followers.

The alumni in Spotify’s New York office work alongside other employees that hail from Europe. “The team at Spotify is extremely talented and diverse in their expertise and cultural backgrounds,” Altarescu says. “We have different perspectives on music and business but share many of the same goals. It’s very inspiring working with such a talented group.”

For more information on Spotify in the United States, visit: https://www.spotify.com/us/.