Warner Music poaches Spotify’s US head of catalog… as catalog’s dominance of streaming keeps growing

You’ve got to keep your wits about you in this business on a Friday: it’s a day when large players can slip out news that may be much bigger than it first appears.

And so it is with Warner Music Group, who’ve this afternoon issued a fairly pedestrian press release with the headline: Warner Music Group Names Andre Torres Senior Vice President, Catalog Development and Marketing for Recorded Music Global Catalog Division.

Some guy is hired by some department, yaddah yaddah, and onwards to the weekend, right?

But there’s more to this story.

Andre Torres has been poached by Warner from his previous role at Spotify – where he was Head of Catalog, Artist, and Label Partnerships, North America.

Los Angeles-based Torres has been leading Spotify’s industry-facing catalog business in the US and Canada for the past year, having joining Daniel Ek‘s Green Machine last summer.

And as any attentive reader of MBW will tell you, the past year is exactly the time period in which catalog music has significantly increased its dominance of listening on streaming services.

That’s especially true in the United States, where a recent MRC Data report showed that catalog music’s share of album-equivalent music consumption in the US rose to 66.4% during the first half of 2021.

That figure was up from 63.9% for the same period of 2020, and up by over 5% – from 60.8% – versus the same period of 2018.

(The usual caveat applies here: As per MRC Data, ‘catalog’ reflects anything released over 18 months before a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play.)

As SVP of Catalog Development and Marketing at Warner Music, Torres will report to Kevin Gore, Warner Music’s President, Global Catalog, Recorded Music.

Prior to joining Spotify in 2020, Torres spent more than three years as Vice President of Urban Catalog at Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), where he oversaw the strategy and implementation of A&R, sales, branding, and marketing campaigns for urban music.

In addition, Torres spent 15 years as the founder, editor, and publisher of Wax Poetics, expanding the quarterly music magazine into a multi-tiered brand. He also served as Executive Editor for lyrics website, Genius.

“The Warner Music Global Catalog team is the top in the business, and they keep finding even more innovative and exciting ways to market their artists and their music, tell their stories, and build their global fanbases.”

Andre Torres, Spotify

Discussing his new move to Warner, Torres said: “During my time at Spotify, Genius, and, of course, Wax Poetics, I’ve been lucky to work with Warner labels and get an up-close look at what an amazing job they’re doing for their artists.

“The Warner Music Global Catalog team is the top in the business, and they keep finding even more innovative and exciting ways to market their artists and their music, tell their stories, and build their global fanbases. I can’t overstate how excited I am to join the Warner Music family.”

Kevin Gore commented: “We’re thrilled to have someone with Andre’s extensive streaming, label, and entrepreneurial experience joining our Global Catalog team.

“This is a role where being an expert in building narratives rooted in both deep knowledge of music history and the current cultural landscape is a must. Andre is that and more. He’s seen all sides of the business, and that experience will be vital as we continue to craft world-class, one-of-a-kind campaigns and projects that help our artists reach even more music fans around the world.”

“This is a role where being an expert in building narratives rooted in both deep knowledge of music history and the current cultural landscape is a must. Andre is that and more.”

Kevin Gore, Warner Music

In his new role, Torres will lead one of Warner Recorded Music’s catalog content development and marketing teams. Working closely with frontline labels and artists, he will strategize new catalog opportunities in A&R, content development, consumption, and marketing, including digital and physical catalog campaigns.

Torres’ hiring rounds out WMG’s Global Catalog leadership team for content, which includes previously announced SVP’s of Catalog Development & Marketing Andrea Craig, Ingrid Erickson, Alicia Yaffe, Nigel Reeve, and Mike Engstrom.

Music Business Worldwide

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