VH1 Veteran Tom Calderone Joins Spotify as Content Deal Broker

Calderone, who was the head of Viacom’s VH1 for seven years, will spearhead the streaming-music service’s global partnerships and original shows

Streaming music service Spotify hired Tom Calderone, who led Viacom’s VH1 music channel for seven years, this month as its global head of content partnerships.

A big hire for Sweden-based Spotify’s fledgling video business, Calderone will direct all original content, shows and studio content, as well as artist, publisher and label relations. He joined the company Tuesday.

Spotify unveiled plans last year to introduce video to its subscription music service in a move to appeal more broadly to consumers through a lineup of traditional and digital content providers like Viacom’s Comedy Central, Vice Media, Disney’s ESPN and its digital unit Maker Studios. But the effort has been slow to emerge, spending nine months in testing with small groups of listeners before rolling out in the U.S. last month.

Calderone left Viacom last year, after seven years as the president of VH1 and 17 years with MTV Networks. He will be based in New York and report to Stefan Blom, Spotify’s chief content and strategy officer.

After launching in 2008, Spotify rose to the top of a heap of music start-ups in the new model of selling subscriptions to access a catalog of millions of songs. It has gained more paying members than any other service of its kind, even as deep pocketed rivals like Apple Music launched. Last month, Spotify was said to be nearing 30 million paid members, up from the 20 million that it reported in June. Rival Apple Music has said it has 11 million subscribers.