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Spotify opens new London R&D hub

Music streaming service Spotify has opened a new technology hub in London, as part of its push to open offices outside the US and Stockholm

Spotify has opened a new research and development (R&D) hub in London, reportedly creating around 300 new jobs in the region.

The music streaming service announced at the tail end of 2018 it planned to open a new office building in London, as the “conversation around London as an innovative tech epicentre” increased.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan took to Twitter to call Spotify’s plans for a London tech hub “fantastic”, while digital minister Margot James said the launch of the hub is “more evidence that the UK is a world-leader for tech”.

Since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) was announced, many have been concerned about the UK’s supply of technology talent.

This has led to a significant drop of investment in technology in London, despite the city remaining a popular destination for technology workers from both in and outside of the EU.

London in particular has not seen a lull in attracting technology talent, with the city seeing the influx of more global skilled technology workers than any other European city in 2018.

Spotify shared on its website that it has spent the months following the announcement of a new tech hub building a team of “diverse and talented team of developers”, as well as hiring for roles such as data scientists, product managers and designers.

Team diversity

John Hayes, director of engineering for the music streaming service, put an emphasis on the variety of cities and countries across the world the London team is from.

“No matter where you are from, you’ll find something going on in London that interests you and that you can learn from,” he said. “There is a culture of top talent seeking the most interesting opportunities here.”

Since its inception as a startup, Spotify has been focused on creating a unique internal culture, and though this may change from office to office to include the nuances from the region, the firm’s overall culture is embraced across its locations.

On the firm’s website, it said of its London office: “Like London itself, our newest office reflects many different cultures and experiences, but is equally connected to Spotify tradition. We’ve even put our own spin on the fika break: Sweden’s take on afternoon tea.”

According to reports from The Telegraph, the firm’s existing London employees will move from its office in Soho to the new hub near London’s strand to join the growing number of new additions, and the hub has been hailed the firm’s first major tech hub outside of Sweden.

Read more about Spotify

  • A new non-profit, including firms such as Just Eat and Spotify, cloud-focused trade association has emerged that wants to help prevent financial management issues get in the way of enterprises embracing cloud.
  • Spotify’s vice-president of infrastructure opens up about the company’s datacentre downsizing plans, and how taking a multi-cloud to IT consumption would not work for the firm.

Spotify is not the only firm to open R&D hubs with a focus on tech in the UK, with companies such as Barclays, Moonpig and Oracle growing or developing UK-based tech hubs.

Moonpig created 50 new roles in the creation of its technology hub in Manchester, focused on developing a new ecommerce data platform.

Santander’s plans for a tech hub in Milton Keynes and Barclays’ new tech hub in Glasgow also shows an increase in a focus on creating technology roles in the UK.

Meanwhile, technology firms who already have digital hubs are looking to expand them. For example, Oracle has recently announced plans to hire data experts and artificial intelligence professionals, and Atos and Google are opening a London-based digital innovation centre.

London is not the only city in the UK with a reputation for digital. Manchester has also seen growth of technology-driven firms

Read more on IT for media and entertainment industry

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