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CHERY PICKS SPOTIFY OVER APPLE

In a surprising defection, Apple Music's Hip-Hop programming head Carl Chery is jumping ship to Spotify, according to Variety.

Chery was a proven tastemaker and key black-music curator for Apple Music, managing the popular "A List: Hip Hop" playlist for the music service, as well being credited with helping secure some key exclusives, such as Chance The Rapper's Grammy-winning album, Coloring Book. Chery's also well known for being instrumental in breaking several key R&B artists like Khalid, 6LACK, Daniel Caesar and H.E.R., to name a few.

The move comes just six weeks after curator Tuma Basa—who built the hugely popular and influential Rap Caviar playlist for Spotify—suddenly left the company for a position at YouTube.

This talent shuffle also highlights an emerging dynamic at streaming services just now: the struggle to keep programming talent as they battle for new audience. It also raises the question about the creation of a new generation of musical "gatekeepers"—the role of which, was diminished in the first iteration of streaming as being irrelevant to the equation because consumers had more control over their music choices and would manage their own music.

Functionality was championed over all else, by the folks who actually wrote the code.

As time has evolved the streaming experience however, the opposite happened: music consumers found leaders within the services themselves, and a few key curators proved their worth—and quite possibly, the argument about curation versus algorithm-led music discovery— by attracting huge audiences for the specific playlists they managed.

Another intriguing question is who at Spotify lured away and hired Chery. Was this the work of Troy Carter, or Daniel Ek himself?