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Spotify hires Beats Music former head of product

Fredric Vinna, part of Beats Music's early team of creators, recently left the streaming music service and will soon begin work at its main rival, Spotify.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

The rivalry between Spotify and Beats Music, two key streaming music services, is deepening.

Spotify has hired Fredric Vinna, Beats Music's former head of product, engineering and design, according to a person familiar with the matter. Vinna left Beats Music just recently -- his LinkedIn page still lists his job there as current -- and will be joining Spotify to work on product there as well, according to this person.

Vinna has been described by Beats Music Creative Director Rob Sheridan as one of the few central people in a "scrappy room of enthusiastic creators" when the new music service was being conceived and developed.

Beats Music declined to comment. Vinna couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Beats Music and Spotify are both streaming music services that, unlike Internet radio Pandora, offer the ability to listen to a specific track on demand, and both can be accessed anywhere without commercials for about $10 a month. It's a segment of the music industry that's growing rapidly, but so has the competitive intensity within it. Spotify and Beats, particularly, are head-on rivals.

Sweden-based Spotify launched in 2008 and has quickly grown into the biggest subscription-based service of its ilk, spreading throughout much of Europe thanks to partnerships with mobile carriers before it hopped over to the US. It has grown chiefly through a focus on design, expanding licensing deals with labels, and those telecom partnerships, though its traction in the US has mostly been through word-of-mouth appeal.

Beats Music, on the other hand, launched less than two months ago, a venture that combined the technology of on-demand music service MOG with the same branding flash that made Beats headphones a hit for longtime music exec Jimmy Iovine and musician Dr. Dre. So far, Beats Music has been marked by a marquee partnership with AT&T and feverish marketing that targets a mainstream audience -- a Super Bowl ad with Ellen DeGeneres being the apex -- but there were also complaints of early tech hiccups immediately after rollout.

Vinna was most recently Beats Music's head of product. Before that, he worked for Swedish music-software company Propellerhead Software and Tonium AB, another Swedish company that produced the Pacemaker portable DJ system but liquidated in 2011.