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As YouTube Gets Ready to Launch a Spotify Competitor, a Top Exec Heads to Spotify

Product boss Shiva Rajaraman was one of the guys in charge of a long-delayed subscription service.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here’s another change for YouTube’s management team, which has been in flux for much of the year: Shiva Rajaraman, the executive in charge of the video site’s consumer products, is headed to Spotify.

Rajaraman’s departure is notable for multiple reasons, but the most obvious is that one of his jobs was to shepherd YouTube’s long-delayed music subscription service. And now he’s headed to the world’s biggest music subscription service.

Last month, YouTube product manager Chris LaRosa, who also worked on the music service and had reported to Rajaraman, left the company to work on an unrelated startup. At the time, Google executives said his departure wouldn’t affect the music service, which was supposed to launch late last year and is now tentatively scheduled for this fall.

A YouTube spokesman wouldn’t comment about the music service’s launch, but offered this statement via email: “Shiva has done so much to help grow YouTube into what it is today. We wish him all the best, and know that the team he has put in place will continue to serve all our creators and viewers exceptionally well.” Spotify declined to comment.

In February, Google CEO Larry Page placed ad veteran Susan Wojcicki in charge of YouTube, and that move has set off a shuffle in the org chart below her.

In June, product head Shishir Mehrotra, who had been the No. 2 executive at the site, left. Last month, Re/code reported that Mehrotra, who is working on his own startup, had started consulting with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek as a special adviser, while Omid Kordestani, Google’s temporary sales boss, had joined Spotify’s board.

Rajaraman joined YouTube in 2006 when Google bought the site for $1.6 billion and has been there since, except for a brief stint at Twitter in 2010.

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