Matthew Ogle, a product manager at Spotify who helped develop and oversee popular discovery features such as Discover Weekly, is leaving the company to join Instagram, Ogle said on Twitter Monday.
The departure may come at an awkward time for Spotify, which is planning to go public soon either through an IPO or the more rare route of a direct listing. Spotify’s revenue reportedly grew by 49 percent to 2.9 billion euros ($3.1 billion) last year, but its operating loss grew even faster to between 300 million euros and 400 million euros.
The key to Spotify’s future profitability is luring more listeners into subscriptions. And this is where Discover Weekly played an important role. The service, which uses Spotify’s music recommendation algorithms to serve up a two-hour playlist each week, was as close as Spotify has come to a killer app. Audiophiles praised the service, and millions of users came to await each week’s offering.
The secret to Discover Weekly came from technology developed by music analytics firm Echo Nest, which used to power Rdio’s music recommendations until Spotify acquired the firm in 2014. After the acquisition, Rdio’s recommendations were never quite the same. Rdio filed for bankruptcy late last year, with Pandora buying some of its assets.
According to Ogle’s LinkedIn page, he worked at Echo Nest until 2012, when he founded music discovery community This Is My Jam. In early 2015, he joined Spotify. Today Ogle tweeted, “After 12+ yrs in music, I’m trying something new — at one of my all-time fave services.”