It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, says the AC/DC rock anthem. But not if you’re Spotify. The streaming music platform launched from Stockholm, Sweden in 2008 has quickly climbed the charts with music fans all over the world. What’s more Spotify is making the music industry hot again according to industry analysts. Plus, it seems like a really cool place to work with in-office jam sessions and famous musicians dropping by for impromptu concerts.
In less than a decade, Spotify has morphed into the digital generation’s MTV as the number one with a bullet place to discover new music and listen to cherished favorites. This being the social media era, Spotify members can share playlists and follow other members including anyone from their hip older brother to actual rock stars. And members can integrate their Spotify account into their Facebook profile for even way more social fun with music.
Spotify now boasts a catalog of over 30 million songs. It has over 100 million monthly active users, and as of March 2017, about 50 million paying subscribers, per its Wikipedia listing.
The Spotify Timeline
2008 – Launch
2011 – US launch
2015 – Beatles music access
2016 – 100 million users
“Quickly supplanting meatballs and flat-pack furniture as Sweden’s most adored export, Spotify has completely changed the way people listen to music,” Time recently said. “By allowing users to play music directly from the cloud — rather than by downloading it first — Spotify became wildly popular, and as a startup gave entrenched music industry players like Apple’s iTunes a run for its money.”
Spotify Highlighted as One of Best Unicorn Companies Paying Programmers Top Dollar
Spotify was the only streaming music company to make the cut in a Tech Crunch list The 20 Best Unicorn Companies For Paying Software Engineers Top Dollar. A quick look at current Spotify job openings listed on Paysa found total annual salaries of $304,000 for a senior back end engineer and $280,000 for a site reliability engineer among 19 recent job postings.
Additionally, Paysa’s new algorithmic-based analysis shows Spotify zooming from 120th place in 2016 to 22nd place in the new 2017 list of top 10,000 companies for tech talent.
Paysa data engineer Anand Joseph said, “Spotify showed the third biggest growth among the top 100 ranked companies. This upward movement is very significant because of how competitive the other companies are in the top 100.”
Pandora Offering Tech Salaries Competitive with Spotify
Tech Crunch was bullish on Spotify, but noted, “The Swedish music platform is now valued at a hefty $8.5 billion, but is not without competitors. Apple jumped into the music streaming market this year. Pandora, which recently bought Spotify competitor Rdio, also tunes in with a market cap at a bit less than half the valuation of Spotify, but with more than $1 billion in the bank, Spotify has plenty of room – and looks likely to pay programmers well, too.”
However, Pandora’s average tech salary is $214,000 according to Paysa. That is slightly higher than Paysa data for Spotify’s average tech salary of $208,000. Although Pandora’s Paysa ranking has inched up only slightly from last year from 33 to 32, it is still in the top 50 and not far behind Spotify.
Another plus for considering going on board with Pandora is location. Most of Pandora’s current job openings for software engineers and other staff are based in the company’s Oakland, CA headquarters. That might be less of a jolt for many tech professionals than relocating from Silicon Valley to New York City or Stockholm, the two locations where Spotify has its offices.
Predating Spotify by eight years with a 2000 launch, Pandora’s original model was to create customized streaming free radio stations for listeners curated by musicologists as part of Pandora’s “Musical Genome” project. For example, if you type a Mumford and Sons song, Pandora might next cue up one by the Lumineers for you or maybe Bob Dylan. But now to compete with Spotify, Pandora has launched a song specific streaming service called Pandora Premium more akin to Spotify’s model.
“On the surface, it may seem as if Pandora is very, very late to the streaming game: Apple Music launched way back in 2015 and has 20 million users. Spotify has been around for nine years and has 100 million users. There’s Amazon, Tidal, SoundCloud, and even Google already in this game. But with 80 million users already listening to Pandora every month, the company thinks it has a strong base to grow on. The plan is to offer a new service with essentially no learning curve for those users, and a free six-month trial for current Pandora Plus subscribers. That’s probably the best possible jump start for any streaming service, and so Pandora Premium is well positioned to give Spotify and Apple Music the legitimate third challenger that Google, Amazon, and SoundCloud haven’t been able to produce,” commented The Verge in March 2017.
How to Get a Spotify Job
Getting a job at Spotify is humorously referred to as “joining the band” by the company. However, you will not be expected to actually play guitar or even Guitar Hero. You may though be asked to do a test coding project. But being passionate about music wouldn’t hurt.
If you’re applying for a tech position, and the Spotify team likes what they see on your resume, you’ll be contacted for a phone or Skype interview with an engineer. Then you’ll have a half-day of on-site interviews (three hour-long meetings with engineers, and lunch with an engineer). Depending on the position, you may have to complete a coding challenge at home before arriving onsite, according to a Mashable article How to Land a Job at Spotify.
A Spotify recruiter said during an interview in another article, “We are constantly recruiting and always looking for the best talent. Last year, we hired over 350 people.”
What are Spotify job candidates expected to know beforehand? “We certainly hope they will be active, engaged users of Spotify, but at the very least, they should possess a basic understanding of the streaming music business. For our engineering candidates, it’s ideal if they have some knowledge of agile methodologies. We have a very active Twitter and Facebook page where candidates can check out some information before their interview.”
Although Spotify often hires based on internal referrals, but is totally open to random job applicants. Just apply on Spotify.com/jobs and let your experience speak for itself.
Streaming Music Industry Hiring Trends
Looking at Paysa data for all recent hires and job postings companies in the music streaming industry, clear trends emerge. We aggregated hiring data from Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Amazon Music Unlimited and Sound Cloud.
Company – Number of Jobs Since Jan-2016
Spotify – 195
Amazon – 62
Pandora – 13
Google – 3
SoundCloud – 2
Locality – Number of Jobs Since Jan-2016
New York, NY – 140
San Francisco, CA – 52
Boston, MA – 43
Seattle, WA – 11
Somerville, MA – 8
Baltimore, MD – 7
Oakland, CA – 5
Los Angeles, CA – 2
Mountain View, CA – 2
Cambridge, MA – 1
New York City, NY – 1
Palo Alto, CA – 1
San Diego, CA – 1
Wilmington, NY – 1
Spotify and Pandora 2016 Tech Salaries
|Senior Software Engineer||$150,334|
|Senior QA Engineer||$128,343|
|Senior Software Engineer||$147,859|
|Machine Learning Engineer||$128,202|
Merge Your Passion With Your Profession in the Streaming Music Biz
If you gave up your dream of playing in an indie band for a more secure life in tech or if you still play in an indie band or just really love music, now might be the perfect time to merge your passion with your profession. The music industry is hot again. And that’s thanks to tech streaming (although let it be noted that old school vinyl records are also making a comeback).
“After nearly two decades of decline, the music industry looks like it is coming back, powered by streaming services like Spotify,” declared Recode.
Estimated retail revenues from recorded music in the United States grew 11.4% in 2016 to $7.7 billion., according to U.S. retail sales analysis company RIAA. Driving that growth was a doubling of paid streaming music subscriptions which helped the American music business experience its biggest gain since 1998.
As a result, Kobalt, a New York City-based company that helps artists and other music owners track the money their songs generate, recently raised $75 million in a round led by Hearst, Recode reported. Kobalt had previously raised $125 million from a group of investors that include Google.
And Pandora recently received a $150 million infusion from private equity firm KKR.
Pick-up band instead of pick-up basketball at the office? This might be the industry for you. Rock on.