• Sweden edition
 
Spotify interview: The source of the stream

Spotify interview: The source of the stream

Published: 23 Feb 2009 15:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2009 15:42 GMT+01:00

Daniel Ek is a difficult man to track down. The co-founder and CEO of Spotify is busy travelling around the US and UK on business, though he is keeping schtum about who he is meeting. [U2 perhaps? It has just been announced that the band are to unveil their new album on Spotify this week].

Founded in 2006, Spotify is quickly gaining a legion of loyal fans and it is easy to understand why. The music-streaming program gives users instant access to a huge catalogue of music from all over the world. Free of charge. Music connoisseurs can listen to Chilean pop rock group Kudai one moment, Cantonese sensation Andy Lau the next, and a quick hop around the world later, they could be sampling the delightful voice of Turkish singer Emel Sayin.

Unlike the majority of peer-to-peer music sharing, Spotify’s beauty lies in the fact that it works with music companies and rights holders so that its operations are wholly legitimate. This explains why Spotify has been welcomed into the fold with open arms by both producers and consumers of music alike. Just this past Wednesday saw Daniel EK attending the Brit Awards in London, mingling with the crème de la crème of the music industry. This would never have been the case for the likes of Napster or Pirate Bay.

So it was with great satisfaction that Daniel Ek, very much the man of the moment, took some time out to answer our questions.

You are often described as a serial entrepreneur, are there any other things you are also guilty of?

Right now, with all the travelling I’m doing, not getting enough sleep.

Spotify is a brilliant idea but let's be honest. Have there been any ideas that you've had that didn't work out?

Plenty, but luckily none which are business-related.

Who has most inspired you?

I’d have to say French electro kings Daft Punk. I still get goose bumps when I hear Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

Go on, give us a peek into your music collection, who are you listening to right now?

There are some fantastic artists coming through such as M.I.A., TV On The Radio, The Ting Tings, Fleet Foxes and The View. Bruce Springsteen’s latest is awesome and I’ve just started listening to Lily Allen’s new album, which just hit Spotify.

Spotify was yours and Martin Lorentzon’s brainchild, did it come about quickly from a chat you both had or was the idea a long process development?

It’s something we’d been thinking about for a while. One thing that became obvious to us post P2P was the fact that people consumed more music than ever from a bigger diversity of artists. The influences in terms of what they were listening to were coming more from friends than from radio stations. They were consuming music like crazy but weren’t necessarily paying for that music. The underlying demand for music was bigger than ever. [The reason] we set up Spotify was to cater for that demand but to also, at the same time, create a functioning revenue stream.

What do you make of the success so far?

We love the fact that so many people have taken Spotify to heart and are enjoying the service. Our ultimate aim is to provide the world’s biggest catalogue of music that’s quick, simple and fun to use.

What has been Spotify's biggest challenge since start-up?

Well obviously signing the various record deals was a huge step for us. We want to be the alternative to music piracy and to have the support of the record labels, both the majors and independents, to allow us to realise that aim.

Since then, probably dealing with the surge in users has been one of our biggest challenges, as well as adding on average 10,000 tracks a day to the Spotify catalogue. Putting all the world’s music in one place is a big job.

Who do you see as your biggest competition?

Depending on who you speak to, we will be compared to different services. In the UK, we get compared to Last.fm; in France a lot of people compare us to Deezer, while in the US a lot of people see us as similar to Rhapsody or Napster. I honestly believe that we don’t have a main competitor on that level as no one is currently offering what we are offering in terms of an ad-supported model and a subscription model as one.

What has been the best decision you have made for the company?

Hiring some of the best people in the business. Everyone’s extremely passionate about what we’re trying to achieve here and that passion is evident in everything we do, from adding as much music as we can every day, to keeping the service running smoothly, to keeping users abreast of all the latest news on our blog and Twitter.

So with all the techies behind Spotify, are your Christmas parties a fun affair?

We’re unbelievably lucky at Spotify to have a hugely talented mix of people on board. It’s fair to say our techies give the sales & marketing team a very good run for their money in the partying stakes.

What have you got planned for 2009?

A whole bunch of stuff. We’ve got some unbelievably cool exclusive content available for our users coming up over the next few months, plus we’re also going to provide our Spotify Premium subscribers with some special extra services. Watch this space.

Thanh Dinh (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Photos: Henrik Montgomery/Fredrik Persson/TT

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats

While a record number of ministers and party leaders will participate in the Stockholm Pride Parade this year, there are notable exceptions - including SD leader Jimmie Åkesson, who is not only 'uninterested' but banned. READ  

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary
Soon 'hen' will be found on this page. Photo: The Local

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary

The ever-controversial pronoun 'hen' has won its battle and is set to officially become part of the Swedish language. READ  

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival
Photo: Danny Chapman/The Local

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival

The Urkult music festival in northern Sweden may be less sex, drugs and rock'n'roll and more family fun, chai and polska dancing - but Danny Chapman says it’s one of the most magical Swedish experiences he has had. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
You want one of these. Photo: Skatteverket

Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm

When it comes to data-driven life, from daycare to healthcare, Sweden is in a league of its own. Above all, your personal number is the key that unlocks life in Stockholm. READ  

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

All aboard! We're off to the island of Gotland for our Property of the Week - a home right in the heart of Medieval Visby. Whether you're looking to buy or dying to look - this is the place for you. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year
Stockholm Pride. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year

The largest pride festival in Scandinavia is back for the 17th year in a row. The week promises to be packed with activities - and a glamorous opening gala with Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst. READ  

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape

A man has been arrested on the suspicion of raping a child at the preschool where he is employed. READ  

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting
Police at the scene. Photo: Niklas Luks/TT

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting

Seventeen people were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday after a man was shot dead in central Sweden. Several of the suspects were already known to the police for gang crimes. READ  

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

A 35-year-old woman faces charges for aggravated narcotic crimes after police found 15 kilogrammes of unusually high-concentrated cocaine in her car. READ  

Opinion
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

Back home in the US and with a solid Swedish stint under his belt, contributor Steven Schier has listed what he thinks are the six biggest differences between Sweden and the states. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

732
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se