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Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek was in pretty-honest mode at the company’s press conference in New York yesterday, admitting that the service’s major blind spot was discovering the quintillion tracks available to users. It’s something they plan on fixing sooner rather than later, by placing a new emphasis – along with new apps and functions like a “Discovery” tab – on taste-makers like critics and artists.

As paidContent explains:

By changing the agents who spotlight new music from “friends” to experts and industry folks, Spotify is acknowledging the traditional role of taste-makers in music. Ek showed how listeners could follow the likes of music newspaper NME, which should be overjoyed at this restoration of its diminishing status.

But it is also turning artists themselves in to taste-makers. And not in some algorithmic manner (“if you likes Artist X, then you may like Artist Y”)…

paidContent, in a separate article, also highlighted some bullet points from the press conference:

- Over 5 million paying customers.
– 20 million active users.
– Added 1 million more paid customers in the last 3 months.
– Over 1 billion playlists.
– Playlist count has more than doubled in the last year.
– Adding 10,000 to 20,000 new songs every single day.

The Guardian spoke to Ek the previous day about the changes:

“Music isn’t like news, where it’s what happened five minutes ago or even 10 seconds ago that matters. With music, a song from the 1960s could be as relevant to someone today as the latest Ke$ha song” he says.

“So how do you make sense of that and make sure the artist gets heard? We’ve been working on a new version of Spotify which we think solves this problem.”

Super mega bonus news: Lars Ulrich and Metallica have kissed and made up with Napster co-founder Sean Parker! From Billboard.biz:

In a moment suggesting that digital music had come full circle, Ek invited Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Sean Parker, formerly of Napster and now a Spotify investor, on stage with him. Metallica had sued Napster a decade ago for facilitating the distribution of pirated copies of the band’s music in a high-profile battle in which both parties emerged with bruised reputations.

And, over at NBC Chicago’s Inc. Well blog, David Wolinsky spoke with George Howard, the Chief Operating Officer of Norton, parent company of Daytrotter, Paste, and Wolfang’s Vault. He had some things to say about Spotify, too:

Define to me what is different on a musical basis between Spotify, REO, Napster, Rhapsody. There’s no difference. They all have exactly the same music. One of them has a better user interface than the other, and that’s terrible for the business. It’s no different than the business model has been. We pride ourselves on trying to be innovative in our business and trying to do something different.




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