NEW YORK — Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced that the company would be laying off one-sixth of its workforce, though affected employees were offered an alternative to unemployment: keep working, for free, and listen to advertisements every six and a half minutes.
“While we are saddened to lose so many members of our world-class team, we’re delighted to push the boundaries of the modern workplace to better suit all,” said the billionaire Ek, reached for comment in his underwater pleasure dome somewhere in the North Atlantic. “This new no-compensation-plus-ads model will do to employment what our streaming music model did to music. Eventually, all of our employees will be under a similar agreement, other than the executive level workers of course. The higher-ups will be part of a Premium Plan that will include unlimited vacation, bonuses, and stock options. Which is more than reasonable.”
Sally Britten, a payments specialist in Spotify’s New York office, is one of the roughly eight hundred workers whose paid positions are to be cut in lieu of the “ad-supported zero compensation” model.
“I’ve worked here for six years, and I’m really disappointed,” said Britten. “I mean, this quarter our business grew dramatically. My team helped grow our subscriber base by millions, our digital team launched an AI that can reliably write and upload Minnesota hardcore and we successfully cut payments to artists to the lowest level ever seen. It just feels like the bosses don’t appreciate the irreplaceable value of the labor we do to their business model.”
An advertising professional, granted anonymity to discuss internal affairs at the company, is optimistic that many of those laid off will choose to stay and embrace the new employment model.
“I mean, think about how great it’s going to be. You’re in your office, trying to figure out the perfect ‘ASMR for Pets With Allergies’ playlist when you have to shut everything off and listen to me pitch exciting opportunities like Stamps.com to you, again,” said the mysterious advertiser. “And then at the end of the two weeks, you don’t get a paycheck at all. I mean, call us crazy, but who wouldn’t love that?”
As of press time, Spotify confirmed they would also be removing all bassist-led side projects from the service to further cut costs.
Photo by Magnus Höij.