Feeds

Spotify founder hints at video, P2P sharing, world domination

Thinking big

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

If you don't know what the fuss is about Spotify, you probably haven't used it. The company's co-founder Daniel Ek was at Music House last week, and treated attendees of the Music Publishers' AGM to the frankest public interview about Spotify I've yet heard. I also caught up with him after the session. It all adds up to the best picture yet of where the music phenomenon could be heading.

Ek admitted the ad business as not really launched yet, he also discussed delivering video in the future, using Spotify for P2P downloads, and even a public flotation. He also confirmed the popularity of the service which stealth launched in January and now boasts over half a million UK users, and is watching Last.fm and Pandora get smaller in the rear view mirror.

Spotify had "five to six times" the usage of any other streaming service, he said.

Doing a legal service is hard

First things, first, though. Ek described the original rationale behind Spotify. It won't surprise anyone who's used it, but the focus was on performance, performance and performance.

"We spent a lot of time looking in intricate detail about how to play music," he told Impact magazine editor Emmanuel Legrand. "What sound codecs you use, how you distribute it, how you stream it, and how you present."

"Spotify looks like it plays instantly but actually it's not."

Ek said that living in Sweden, he hadn't used a legal, licensed service since finding digital music services through MP3.com in 1997. WinAmp had been released in April 1997, and along with its companion software Shoutcast caught on like wildfire that summer. He'd been a Napster and Limewire user along the way, noting iTunes hadn't launched in Sweden - that came in May 2005.

Doing a legal service appealed, he said, because of the challenge.

"It's not hard to do illegal software... Spotify would be the most popular service in the world if it was illegal," said Ek. Apple badly needed some competition, he added.

"It's sad that the one dominant player, iTunes, doesn't care about the music industry," he said. "We want to be the second company that writes huge cheques to artists."

Making money. How?

Spotify is on a fascinating knife-edge between attracting P2P downloaders and not repelling them again with intrusive advertisements. Was Spotify on target with its revenue forecasts, Ek was asked?

"Not really, to be honest. We're in one of the world's worst recessions, and it's taken longer to get started. We view it as we haven't really started yet. In four months you can't build a self-sustaining model, like iTunes". Figures seen by The Register confirm that Spotify's revenues are negligable. But it's early days.

Ek outlined a range of future revenue options.

"We think the future of the music industry is an access model, where users pay either with their time by watching ads, or through ISPs or carriers, or through buying handsets. What is lacking in the industry now is what can facilitate those kinds of licensing deals."

Its best hope for now is making Spotify available in an offline and mobile player - that's "access" to an "access model" that people might actually pay for.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Next page: Video

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.