Daniel Ek

Spotify CEO: "What's needed on top of our library is curated experiences"

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 11:00am

Spotify CEO Daniel EkIn a recent interview with Evolver.fm's Eliot Van Buskirk, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (pictured) discussed royalty issues and the company's future plans -- some of which involve ground usually associated with traditional radio, like publicity and music curation.

"What's needed on top of [our library of 15 or 16 million tracks] is curated experiences," said Ek. That should include friends, he says, but also "trusted sources -- people who tend to be really, really good at music."

Spotify recently unveiled several third-party apps that help curate the service's massive library (RAIN coverage here). Some even create instant radio-like playlists for users.

Ek also said Spotify will delve deeper into breaking new musical acts "and [trying] to promote them as well." He argues that will help address the needs of musicians faced with a difficult marketing challenge: "Today, the media landscape is much more fragmented. MTV’s not about music anymore, and radio is even hard[er] to break through. There are tons of radio channels, and most of them play stuff people already know."

On the topic of royalties -- and artists who have recently pulled their new releases from Spotify -- Ek stressed that "this is a very, very different model than just selling a record.

Spotify"Spotify users are the exact same people [who] used to listen to music every day on YouTube, whose entire music collection was pulled off BitTorrent sites...Do you really want to hold back your album from people who are finally paying for music again? If you think that by doing so you’re getting them to buy your album on a CD, or as an album download, again, there’s absolutely no evidence to back that theory up."

He continues, "When someone creates a Spotify playlist, and they put an album or songs in there, they don’t just play them once...the sales cycle of that record is anywhere from four to 12 weeks in most typical cases. With Spotify, we keep seeing the effect up to 25, 35 [weeks], or even a year...And every time someone plays a song, we pay the music industry."

That argument was seconded by Radical.fm CEO Thomas McAlevey in an email sent to RAIN and other publication (in response to this Billboard article).

You can find Ek's full interview with Van Burksirk at Evolver.fm here.

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