Troy Carter, the executive in charge of Spotify's artist relations, will leave the company, injecting uncertainty into the streaming service's uneasy relationship with the record industry.
"By all measures, Troy has made a tremendous impact at Spotify," co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said Monday in a statement. "When he joined our team, there was skepticism from the artist community on streaming overall. Troy has been instrumental in changing that perception."
Music executives have speculated about Carter's departure for months, especially after the company instituted a controversial policy over his objections. He protested a short-lived rule that penalized musicians who were accused of domestic violence and talked openly with colleagues in the music industry about leaving. The company appointed an executive over him as chief content officer in late June. He'll remain an adviser through year-end.
"I'm very proud of what we've achieved but with so much accomplished, it was the right time to move out of the day-to-day into an advisory role," said Carter, whose title was global head of creator services.
Carter's departure creates a vacuum just as the company is about to enter a new round of negotiations with the three major record labels. Spotify has sought to reduce the rate it pays to labels so that it can one day be profitable.
Carter, 45, joined Spotify a couple years ago to help repair the company's often-fraught relationship with artists, who have assailed the streaming service for generating billions in revenue and paying artists in pennies. A former manager to pop stars Lady Gaga and John Legend, Carter built a team to work more closely with different acts.
Spotify has transformed the music industry with its paid service, which offers more than 35 million songs, customized playlists and podcasts for a monthly fee.
Music industry sales have climbed three years in a row after almost two decades of decline. The stock has climbed since the company went public in April, and Spotify's market capitalization now exceeds $30 billion.
Carter's departure was announced on a day when internet stocks like Facebook and Netflix were already under pressure. Spotify, based in Stockholm, fell as much as 5.9 percent to $175.31 in New York. It went public in April at $132.
-- Bloomberg News