IN PRINT AND ONLINE

Daniel Ek

How Daniel Ek outwitted

the pirates

SPOTIFY founder and CEO Daniel Ek was in conversation with Mark Read, global CEO of Wunderman yesterday on the inspiration stage. And during the session he admitted that he had been considering retiring before he took the plunge and started Spotify.

“I had already started a couple of businesses that I had been lucky enough to be able to sell, so at 23 years old I was post-economic, and was considering retiring,” he said. “But the challenge of working on something that I am extremely passionate about was irresistible.”

Spotify’s revenues last year were $2.2bn, and the platform now has 100 million users, of which 30 million are premium members who pay a subscription. “When we started we were very mission-driven. We knew that fighting piracy wasn’t working and that finding a better product was the way to go,” he said. “So we started building the infrastructure and after about two years we started talking to the record companies in Sweden, which incidentally at that time was both the home of Pirate Bay, and had a music industry that had shrunk by 80%.”

These days the Swedish music industry has returned to profitability and is 91% streaming-based. Asked whether he believed artists who resist being on Spotify, such as Adele and Taylor Swift, would eventually join the service, he expressed total certainty. “The fact is that those artists still sell a lot of physical product so who can blame them? But the physical market is shrinking so rapidly that within two to three years they’ll need to work with streaming services.”

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June 23 | Seminar Report