Echo Nest CTO and Spotify Scientist Brian Whitman Announces Departure

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Spotify has lost one of its top scientists. Brian Whitman, a co-founder and CTO of music data wizards the Echo Nest, which the Swedish streaming service purchased in 2014, has announced on his blog that he’s taking a break. In his sign-off note, Whitman lists some of his team’s major gains since joining Spotify two-and-a-half years ago. 

"Both sides put endless amounts of effort into making it work, and within a few months we had fully integrated teams with a stunning new focus on making the best recommendation and music understanding products," he writes. "The personalization, retrieval and knowledge graph team is now one of the biggest at Spotify. Almost every single former Echo Nest employee is still there after close to 3 years and loving the opportunity -- very rare for technology acquisitions."

Whitman expects to take a few months off before he’ll "be ready to do it all over again," hinting that he’d like to "do more, particularly beyond music."

Whitman spoke about the Echo Nest, which develops solutions for music discovery and personalization, audio fingerprinting and more, in a Billboard interview following the Spotify acquisition.

"We got lucky in that we chose a really good business plan for the time we were in" he said. "We chose to be an API instead of trying to make our own music service which probably wouldn't have ended well. The founders of the company are two scientists from MIT, we’re not hipster looking product guys. We just love music."