A fascinating link between Google and Spotify emerged last night, with a report by tech site Recode that Spotify has a new board member: a senior figure from Google.
Omid Kordestani’s official title is “senior adviser, office of the CEO and founders” at Google, but last week he was appointed as interim chief business officer for the company, following the departure of Nikesh Arora. Anyway, if Recode’s sources are right, Kordestani is also now joining Spotify’s board of directors.
His LinkedIn profile emphasises that this is something of a coup: “As Google’s ‘business founder’ Omid led the development and implementation of the company’s initial business model. After joining the company in 1999, he brought Google to profitability in record time, generating more than $10 billion in revenue in 2006…”
And in more Google/Spotify news, the same Recode article claims that Shishir Mehrotra, who stepped down as YouTube’s VP of product in June, is joining the streaming music service as a “special adviser to CEO Daniel Ek and the company’s management”.
Finally, the article tosses in the nugget that new YouTube boss (and longstanding senior Googler) Susan Wojcicki has “expressed interest in acquiring the popular online music service if it were for sale” even though no talks are currently underway.
That reminds us of a report in the New York Post in early June claiming that Google was “in the market for a streaming music service” despite already running one (Google Play Music All Access) with another on the way (YouTube Music Pass).
In late 2013, Google said in a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had recently “pursued but discontinued a potential buyout of a foreign company, with a valuation estimated in the range of $4 to $5 billion”. There’s no evidence at all that this was Spotify, but it shows Google’s willingness to consider acquisitions at that level, which is about the right range.
The appointment of Kordestani to Spotify’s board is far from proof that a Google acquisition is Spotify’s ultimate exit, but it would certainly give Google more visibility into the streaming service’s plans for an IPO, if it does decide to make a late bid before Spotify goes public.