• 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)

Today's headlines
Politics
Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden
Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Photo: TT

Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden

Israel called home its ambassador from Stockholm "in irritation" on the same day that Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

970
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
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
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