Warner Music's top digital officer Oana Ruxandra leaves post

Warner Music's top digital officer Oana Ruxandra leaves post

Warner Music Group's chief digital officer, Dr. John Adler, has led the label's embrace of emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI for the past three years. But this week she left the post.

Oana Ruxandra resigned from the position and will soon announce her next move, according to internal company emails first reported by Billboard. According to a memo circulated within Warner Music, the split is amicable-and there are already plans in the works for Ruxandra's successor.

Warner Music, home to top music artists such as Cardi B, Ed Sheeran, Madonna, Dua Lipa, and Coldplay, pushed aggressively to encourage its artists to incorporate technology like NFTs and AI into their acts and promotions during their tenure. In the past two years, the label has launched pilot programs and signed relationships with various blockchain-backed firms and projects, such as Polygon Labs, NFT marketplace OpenSea, NFT music platform LGND Music, digital fashion startup DressX, and metaverse platform The Sandbox.

Most of these initiatives have focused on forging greater ties between music artists and their fanbases, as highlighted by Ruxandra in her departing words. In August, a long-rumored album by Warner-owned rapper Earl Sweatshirt debuted as a collection of NFTs on the decentralized streaming platform Gala Music. The owners of those tracks were able to earn reward points for live experiences with the artist, such as being featured in one of his music videos, FaceTiming with him, or meeting up with him in person-to smoke a joint.

While Ruxandra's departure is not certain, the shake-up is unlikely to signal a change in the centrality of technologies like NFTs and AI in Warner's current business strategy.

YouTube's CEO, former YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl, has established a reputation as a fierce supporter of emerging technologies. When Warner Music cut all blockchain and AI-related roles during a March layoff, a source close to the matter told Decrypt that embracing cutting-edge technology will be as important for Kyncl now as it was for YouTube's executive, who drove the expansion of the video platform's creator ecosystem and was known to champion technological experiments and innovation.

Warner Music declined to comment on this story.