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SPOTIFY

The audio streaming pioneer, from music, to podcasts, worldwide.

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Welcome to the 95th issue of B.

Before writing the Editor’s Letter for this issue, I assessed my streaming service subscriptions. I use four audio apps, including radio, and seven video platforms, some for sports. To truly capitalize on these services, I’d practically need to maintain a constant stream of content, save for work and sleep hours. Nevertheless, music often blends into multitasking, allowing for continuous streaming throughout the day. Nowadays, videos are consumed in a manner akin to audio content. With the surging popularity of wireless earphones, an array of sounds perpetually resonates in everyone’s ears. Whether you’re deeply engrossed in this auditory landscape or not—essentially, the level of concentration—is somewhat secondary. Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, would most likely agree with this. Music, or more broadly speaking, audio content, becomes a background for all moments in life. Indeed, he envisioned Spotify not merely as a music repository, but rather as akin to a supplier of soundtracks (i.e., background music).

The first thing to mention when talking about the innovation of Spotify, founded in 2006, is its legitimate business model that provides free access to music around the world. At a time when the music moved from physical albums to digital files, Spotify carved out a new market that satisfied creators, providers, and consumers alike. In addition, streaming technology, which helps music lovers appreciate more music without having to own it, was an idea that changed the nature of the music. The origin story of streaming technology is well- portrayed in The Playlist, a docudrama miniseries about the creation of Spotify. In Sweden, a country built on social democracy, sharing music was directly related to the values of equality and freedom. It is no exaggeration to say a sort of social movement—one that claimed music should not be treated as a luxury but as a necessity like water or food—led to the development of a product called streaming.

Over a decade since its inception, Spotify remains dedicated to breaking barriers and enhancing music accessibility through numerous strategic aspects of its service. My initial subscription to Spotify pleasantly surprised me with its focus on enhancing convenience. The approach of treating every mood, taste, or situation-specific playlist as an album, instead of merely building a library around artists and albums, truly stood out. This new perspective clearly shows Spotify’s passionate desire to free up users’ time and effort that goes into exploring and experiencing music. It’s akin to suggesting a themed course meal at a restaurant for indecisive diners. While recommending music through playlists, Spotify neither is hierarchical nor authoritative. Rather than promoting hit artists and songs from big music charts or music that is lauded by critics, Spotify brings together individuals worldwide who have similar musical preferences.

In the end, Spotify has emerged as a significant influencer in the music industry, garnering recognition even from media outlets as a service that “satisfies all types of music-listening scenarios.” In other words, Spotify doesn’t think of music as the final destination; rather, it employs music and channels as vehicles to bridge diverse destinations. During his middle school days, Daniel Ek was showcased coding brilliance and was renowned for his programming prowess. During that era, he said something to a friend that almost foretold the creation of Spotify. “Suddenly, it struck me that everything is interconnected.” As he mused two decades ago, music of today might function as a certain “stream”that connects a person with another person, a time with another time, a space with another space. Then, how music will be defined in the future? I’m intrigued to witness whether Spotify can once again redefine music.

Eunsung Park Editor in Chief

Description

Spotify was founded in Stockholm by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006—a time when the music industry was in decline. The audio streaming and media services provider set out to democratize music and make a legal way for anyone to enjoy their favorite tracks. As consumers eagerly welcomed audio streaming, Spotify unveiled a novel listening experience through its machine learning-based, personalized playlist technology. Now providing services in more than 180 countries worldwide, Spotify continues to diversify its voice content with podcasts and audio books to create an ecosystem in which consumers and creators coexist symbiotically.

Pairs nicely with Magazine B: NETFLIX and Magazine B: Apple Music

Authenticity starts with helping as many creators as possible establish their careers through their art, inspire each other, and provide their content to users. When a platform takes full responsibility for being a place where users can enjoy diverse cultures and art, our priority will be eventually realized. In other words, that’s our mission. I firmly believe that when we fulfill this mission, we will become a platform that unleashes all creative potential of humanity to the fullest.

Daniel Ek, Founder·CEO of Spotify

The way we listen to music is completely different than it was 20 years ago, so if you search for a particular artist and their music isn’t available on streaming, they’re already at a disadvantage in the marketplace and in their ability to reach wider audiences. Ideally, I think that streaming services should work like a library where people can lend and return music for free and the revenue can fairly go to the creators.
Puja Patel, Editor in Chief of Pitchfork

Interview with Oskar Stål, Senior leader in Personalization of Spotify:

 

Interviews with Nicole Burrow, Senior Director, Product Design & Global Consumer Experience, Spotify:

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