| (Photo credit: Swedish Embassy)
Spotify, the once tiny startup based in Stockholm, Sweden, is the largest music streaming service in the world today.
What has Spotify done to become today's largest online source of audio? The company’s development is recounted in “The Spotify Play”, an unofficial history of Spotify and its founder Daniel Elk.
Carlsson is currently the technology correspondent for Swedish Radio News. Leijonhufvud has been a business journalist in Sweden since 1998. He interviewed Jeff Bezos when the tech bubble was about to burst, and co-founder Martin Lorentzon when Spotify had just launched.
|Exchange between Swedish journalist Sven Carlsson and delegates at the book launch in Hanoi on Sep 15, 2022 (Photo credit: Swedish Embassy)
During last week’s book launch event in Hanoi, Carlsson talked about writing the book, “We wanted to get all the information we could and tell the story….We had some resistance, I would say. There was no official participation by Spotify’s CEO, for instance, or regular Spotify leadership in the book. We did not get any interviews with the current leadership or at that time leadership of the company.”
“What you do as a journalist, as an investigative reporter? We talked to everybody else. We talked to people that Spotify has been dealing with. We talked to people who have worked there. We talked to artists, music labels, and people who have been close to the action and were able to tell us what actually happened," Carlsson recalled.
He stressed "And we used those types of interviews on the record, as well as off the record or on background interviews, to get the true story. And often times it's controversial. They want control of their narrative. They've always wanted that, and we had to try and get the true story out there,” said Carlsson.
The book relies on the two Swedish journalists’ interviews with employees of the company, and in-depth reporting on figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Steve Jobs, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Pony Ma Huateng, and Jimmy Iovine, to reconstruct how Spotify became a tech powerhouse and redefined the music industry.
The story began in the fall of 2005 when Daniel Ek met Martin Lorenzon, a 36-year-old businessman from Boras, who helped Ek realize his new, bold idea.
The tiny Swedish tech startup took advantage of the threat of piracy and illegal music downloads to persuade big music industry and force world famous music companies to sign contracts with Spotify.
As of 2021, Spotify had more than 50 million songs, one million plus podcasts and 350 million users in 90 countries.
Spotify has revolutionized how we consume music. The streaming service has made it easier to find and listen to music, at home, on the go, or anywhere.
|Guest speakers at the book launch (Photo credit: Swedish Embassy)
“The Spotify Play” is truly an inspirational book for young people, said music producer Le Xuan Duc, adding, it greatly motivates those who want to start a business despite many competitors globally.
“The creators of Spotify are determined and relentless, finding their path and never giving up. That’s what has made Spotify so successful,” said Duc.
According to young singer Dong Hien Trang Anh, “the Vietnamese music market is growing rapidly. I want to upload my music on a digital platform to promote and spread it to everyone. I read a book called “The Spotify Play”, the story of two founders fighting their way up from rock-bottom to become a famous digital music platform. I also aspire to become a music inspiration like the founders of Spotify.”
Vo Duc Anh, co-founder and owner of Hanoi Rock City, said “Artists have the opportunity to reach audiences all over the world with Spotify. Listeners can choose from many genres of music wherever and whenever they want. Spotify has changed the digital music industry, how artists make music, and the habits of music listeners.”
Originally published in Swedish, the book was picked up by Netflix for a miniseries in 2022. Publishing rights have been sold in 10 countries.
In Vietnam, the book was recently published by Tan Viet Books. Nguyen Thu Trang, Deputy General Director of Tan Viet Books, said as she wanted to know who is behind Spotify, who created and developed it to be so perfect, that’s the reason she and her company bought the rights to publish ‘The Spotify Play’ in Vietnam.
“I believe many people have the same curiosity after using the Spotify platform,” said Trang, adding, “The Spotify Play” is available in book stores nation-wide as well as online.