Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Daniel Ek of Spotify and Casey Rae Hunter FMC
Casey: Can you tell me how you came up with the concept for Spotify?
Daniel: We started the company in 2006. 99% of music online is illegal. You want to share music with your friends. In 2006 the RIAA went after individual users, similar cases in Europe...I ultimately believe that is wrong. We want to be a music management platform where you can share music with your friends, and find new music.
Casey: How does the sharing mechanism work?
Daniel: Any think on Spotify can be dragged and dropped...make playlists...there are about fifty sites that aggregate Spotify playlists
Casey: You were talking about the really high percentage of illegal music on the internet. In the US there have been a lot of sites that have been make it available first, license it later
Daniel: I spent two years going through licensing content, not only the majors but the indies as well. About 25% of the content on Spotify is indie content. We don't have any sophisticated finding mechanisms but people do find it
Casey: How do unaffiliated/indie artists get on Spotify?
Daniel: We support a lot of aggregators, everything from CD Baby to IODA and the Orchard, hopefully in the future we can support artists directly uploading their music to Spotify but for now you have to go through an aggregator. We want to give the data back to the users, we have a lot of data about where the users are and such
Casey: The actual desktop client is really rugged, there's no buffer time at all, how important was that to you in the design?
Daniel: I think that's been crutial. The fact is we don't offer any discovery mechanism, but we have 4-5 times to usage of any other service, and that's because of speed. We want people to use this as their primary music service.
Casey: And you know what you're getting. Now, Spotify comes with an ad version and a paid version with special features
Daniel: On the paid side, we have better sound quality, we have portability (move it to a mobile device), we have some settings where you can fine tune your experience, there are some play lists you can cache and listen to offline
Casey: Two services I like in the US: Rhapsody and eMusic both have editorial content...any plans to roll that out
Daniel: That's a more philosophical thing for us, other people do that, you will see us open up a range of APIs you can use that will do that
Casey: waiting to see if iPhone Spotify app will be approved or is it too much like iTunes? It was approved, along with Rhapsody.
Daniel: Look that iPhone App store has exceeded iTunes revenue, so ultimately it aids them in selling their devices to have these apps approved
Casey: Predictions for next 5-10 years?
Daniel: I don't do predictions more than 3 years. Hopefully Spotify will be able to get music to your other devices like Nokia or Blackberry. Pay for Spotify through ads or purchasing downwloads or physical merchandise.
Casey: What role do you think Spotify might play in artists revenue streams?
Daniel: not sure this is going to remain the way it is, if you look at my native country Sweden we've got 90% of the population using broadband, 50% are using spotify, Bit Torrent traffic is down. We're growing 50-70% in revenues to the artists month to month.
Putting strain on networks, growing 25,000 members a day even with the new invite only system. Several ISPs have said they've had to add capacity because of Spotify.
Casey: When can we expect a US launch?
Daniel: We don't know. We're hoping for the end of the year, beginning of next.