Warner Music Group’s chief digital officer, Ole Obermann, is leaving the company, Billboard has confirmed.
“These decisions are never easy,” Obermann wrote in a memo to staff. “We’ve found a great balance between accelerating global streaming growth and championing the next wave of change. The thoughtful and principled work we’ve done during this critical inflection point will help ensure a bright future for the entire music ecosystem.”
First reported by Music Business Worldwide, the New York-based executive’s departure comes as a surprise; according to sources who spoke with the online publication, Obermann decided not to renew his contract. A WMG spokesperson confirmed the news to Billboard.
“I want to take this moment to thank him for all his hard work,” said WMG CEO Steve Cooper in his own memo to staff. “He’s accomplished much over the past three years – including leading the renewals for all of our major digital partnerships, helping to expand the scope of our commercial activities, and overseeing the creation of WMG Boost, our seed-stage investment fund. He’s also enhanced and strengthened the capabilities of our Business Development team.”
Obermann joined WMG in 2016 as head of business development, following a decade-long stint at Sony Music. During this time, he oversaw licensing renewals with Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, three of the company’s biggest revenue partners, as well as new deals with Facebook and many other digitial services. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Warner Music topped $1 billion in quarterly revenue based on its growth in digital and artist services and expanded-rights revenue.
“Our second-quarter results were strong,” said Cooper in a statement at the time. “Our sustained investment in our artists and songwriters, our artist services business and our world-class operators, are delivering great results.”