Troy Carter

Carter is intent on strengthening “the bridge between Spotify and the music community.”

Smallz + Raskind

In June, when Atom Factory founder/CEO Troy Carter announced he was joining Spotify as global head of creator services, many music executives thought he would be securing his new employer exclusive releases, a la Apple Music's deals for Frank Ocean's Endless and Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book. But on a recent afternoon at the company's New York office in Chelsea, Carter, 43, declares that "exclusives are bad for artists, bad for consumers and bad for the whole industry." 

Instead, he half-jokingly promises "Spotify inclusives."

Since most users will never subscribe to more than one streaming service, he believes that limiting access to music only incentivizes fans to seek it out on pirate sites or YouTube, where it generates less revenue. "I was brought onboard to strengthen the bridge between Spotify and the music community," he says.

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With Apple and rival Tidal continuing to make exclusive deals and Amazon said to be planning its own music streaming service, Carter will be making his case for wide releases to labels, managers and artists, and he'll have the wind at his back: He tells Billboard that Spotify now has more than 39 million paid subscribers (up from 30 million in March), whereas Apple Music announced 15 million subscribers in June.

That means Spotify -- which is planning to go public in the second half of 2017, according to Bloomberg Businessweek -- is adding subscribers faster than ever. And it increasingly exposes users to new music, provides marketing for artists and helps sell concert tickets.

"That goes beyond distribution," says Carter. "We can become a full-stack solution for artists."

This article was originally published in the Sept. 3 issue of Billboard.