Why Spotify is laying off staff — again

Published: 12/4/2023

From the BBC World Service: In its third round of job layoffs this year, Swedish music-streaming giant Spotify says it’s cutting 1,500 jobs, or 17% of its workforce. Plus, we look at why the president of COP28 is in hot water over his comments on the science of reducing global heating. And in the United Kingdom, there’s a black market for so-called “skinny jabs” — knock-off versions of weight loss drugs.

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United Kingdom4

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Alex Lawson3

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Mary Robinson2

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Abu Dhabi1

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company1

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Barack Obama1

Weak positivity

Federal Reserve1

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[00:25s-00:50s]: Spotify cuts its workforce to fine tune its finances. Hello, and you're listening to the Marketplace Morning report live from the BBC World Service. I'm Leanna Bern. Thanks for tuning in. The Swedish music streaming giant Spotify says it's cutting 1,500 jobs. That's 70% of its workforce. And it's a third round of job layoffs this year. The BBC's Izzy Greenfield joins me with more details. Hello, Izzy. Hi, Leanna. So what's behind this decision?
[00:50s-01:09s]: Well, in a memo sent to staff, CEO Daniel Egg said slowing economic growth and rising costs were to blame for the cuts, which he said would make Spotify a Lena company. Spotify employs about 9,000 people. And Mr. X said substantial action to right size our costs was needed for the company to meet its objectives.
[01:09s-01:19s]: Now, some analysts are pointing to the fact that Spotify has invested heavily in podcasting. Has not actually had any impact on its financial performance.
[01:19s-01:47s]: Yeah, so Spotify has spent a lot of money on growing the business since it launched and on securing exclusive content, such as podcast created by the likes of Michelle and Barack Obama, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The deal with Harry and Meghan cost a reported $25 million and saw just 12 episodes delivered over two and a half years before the deal ended in June. Spotify's chief executive told the BBC in September that some podcast content has works, but some of it hasn't.
[01:47s-01:55s]: Yes, very diplomatic there. Daniel Egg, the CEO, he says the company is taking steps to become more efficient. What are those steps, is he?
[01:55s-02:20s]: In its latest results, Spotify reported a profit of $65 million for the three months to September. It's first quarterly profit for more than a year. Given these positive results, the job cuts might seem quite extreme, but the chief exec has decided that more drastic action is needed to improve the company's finances. Spotify has also been making moves to increase revenue, raising prices of several of its plans across multiple markets over the summer.
[02:20s-03:05s]: Easy Grimfield, thanks for joining us, Markiplis. Thank you. Now, let's see the numbers. Investors are thinking the Fed won't be raising interest rates anymore. Let's have an impact on where they're putting their money. Go prices reached an all-time high, raising by 3.1% to $135 per ounce. And Bitcoin hit just over $40,000 in Asia at the highest since May 2022. There's been more criticism of the president of the UN's climate summit, COP28, and Dubai. President Sultan Al-Jabar, who heads the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, dismissed the idea of ending fossil fuels, saying there's no science, and it would take us back into caves. This happened in an exchange over Zoom with former Irish President Mary Robinson, who demanded that Abu Dhabi should be leading the way on ending fossil fuels.
[03:05s-03:06s]: Here's his response.
[03:06s-03:23s]: And you're asking for a phase out of fossil fuel. Please help me show me a roadmap for a phase out of fossil fuel that will allow for socio-sustainable socio-economic development. Unless you want to take the world back into caves.
[03:23s-03:30s]: Sultan Al-Jabar, there, and for a bit more context, here's Tom Rivet-Karnak, former UN climate policy strategist.
[03:30s-04:08s]: What he's trying to say is that fossil fuels aren't the problem. It's if you combust them, and they release emissions into the atmosphere. Now, on one level, he is, of course, correct. It is emissions that are creating the warming of our planet. But on another level, there doesn't exist technology at anything like the scale that would be possible to remove all of the emissions from fossil fuels and therefore allow us to continue to burn them. And that is so clearly in his economic interest to want to continue to self-oscillate fuels. That when I saw this news and when others saw the news, we were disappointed because certainly the perception is that he's using his position to advance a national interest.
[04:08s-04:23s]: Tom Rivet-Karnak, there. The BBC has found evidence of a secret market and unlicensed versions of the so-called skinny job and beauty salons in the UK. The re-wirt, our straw gets sold as way gov. Norma needs only available in prescription and is supposed to be taken under medical supervision. The BBC's prior rye has been investigating.
[04:23s-05:05s]: I'm just here to pick up some semi-glute diet that I've been doing. It's a Saturday morning and I've just been sold a knockoff version of a prescription weight loss drug at a beauty salon despite not seeing a doctor. semi-glute diet is the active ingredient in the two prescription drugs, Zempic and Wigovey. Zempic was originally made to treat diabetes, but because its side effects include a loss of appetite and lots of celebrities were rumoured to take it, it started a craze for these so-called skinny jabs. A black market popped up in the UK with British sellers on social media selling a knockoff product with videos like these.
[05:05s-05:09s]: It's got way sooner than money on the Zempic bread. Semicloos diet, £100.
[05:09s-05:27s]: But now a BBC investigation reveals that a black market is also operating in beauty salons. I secretly recorded in four salons and heard dangerous advice being given on how to take the drug. The salon workers' voices have been distorted. You start with small dose.
[05:27s-05:30s]: I started with 10 a.m. after five or 16 units.
[05:30s-05:38s]: So you're just like listening to your body almost? Is it possible to have like too much or...? Well, if you have too much, you just wouldn't want to eat anything
[05:38s-05:39s]: and you might feel sick.
[05:39s-06:33s]: Nover Nordisk, a Danish company who makes the real drug says there is no approved generic or cheap version. The official drug called Wigovie is designed for people living with obesity or who have weight-related health conditions. Official versions are taken under expert medical guidance. Although some asked if I had any health conditions, all were happy to sell me Semiclootide despite me being a healthy weight. Although we could only visit a small number, we found other examples of salons across the UK advertising knockoff versions of the drug. We lab tested 12 samples 11 bought from social media and one from a salon and found that while most of them contained the active ingredient, a quarter contained little or none of the drug, here's what Dr Alex Lawson, a consultant clinical scientist at University Hospital Birmingham Pat to say,
[06:33s-06:42s]: Other products may be less pure, may contain things that are more dangerous and potentially the next time people buy from these manufacturers, who's to say that manufacturing process hasn't changed.
[06:42s-07:02s]: The truth is, you don't know what you're getting and even if you did get a real drug under these conditions, the healthcare professionals I spoke to issued strong warnings about injecting so-called skinny jabs without proper medical oversight. I'm the BBC's Priya Rife for Marketplace. And I'm Leanna Bern with the Marketplace Morning Report
[07:02s-07:13s]: from the BBC World Service.
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