Spotify laying off 17 percent of employees across the company

'I realize... a reduction of this size will feel surprisingly large given the recent positive earnings report,' said CEO Daniel Ek.

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In a pre-holiday shocker, Spotify is laying off 17 percent of its workforce across the company, CEO Daniel Ek announced in a company press release. The cuts are being made due to what Ek called "the challenges ahead" and he elected to make them immediately instead of doing smaller reductions over time. Affected employees will be notified later today, he added.

"I realize that for many, a reduction of this size will feel surprisingly large given the recent positive earnings report and our performance," Ek wrote. "We debated making smaller reductions throughout 2024 and 2025. Yet, considering the gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs, I decided that a substantial action to right-size our costs was the best option to accomplish our objectives. While I am convinced this is the right action for our company, I also understand it will be incredibly painful for our team."

Ek went on to note that the company expanded considerably in 2020 and 2021 due to the lower cost of capital. "These investments generally worked, contributing to Spotify’s increased output and the platform’s robust growth this past year," he said. And despite reductions made last year — the company laid off 6 percent of its workforce early in 2023 and another 2 percent in May — "our cost structure for where we need to be is still too big," Ek said.

Follow those rounds of layoffs, Spotify had around 9,000 employees, so the latest cuts will see around 1,500 employees losing their jobs (4,300 of those jobs were in the US as of 2022). To soften the blow, Ek said Spotify will pay an average of five months severance, cover healthcare during that time and provide immigration/career support.

Ek said that for the company's next phase, "being lean is not just an option but a necessity." Last month, Spotify announced a revamped royalty model, which is supposed to give "working artists" a bigger cut, while reducing fraudulent streams.

Spotify has seen consistent growth since it launch and now counts 574 million monthly active users, up 26 percent over the same period last year. The company has always struggled to make a profit, though with its last quarter being a rare exception. Ek promised more information about what the changes will mean "in the days and weeks ahead" — but all that will be cold comfort to employees suddenly finding themselves unemployed just before the holidays.