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Gone are the days when you had to purchase individual songs to listen to it legally. With only ten dollars a month, you can listen to over 60 million songs, thanks to the Swedish music streaming company Spotify and its founder Daniel Ek.
Daniel Ek – Background & Career
Daniel Ek was born on 21st February 1983 in the suburbs of Stockholm Sweden. Daniel was raised by his stepfather who worked in IT. When Daniel was five his parents got him a guitar and music which got him interested in music and technology. After getting bored by playing video games on his computer he started learning how to make games and taught himself basic programming. In the process, Daniel Ek’s early exposure to music and tech stayed with him forever. He became an entrepreneur at a very early age. In the year 1996 and Daniel Ek was just 13 years old, the Internet was a new thing and every company wanted to have their presence on it. Daniel Ek grabbed the opportunity and started a business of designing websites for clients from his home.
He charged the first line hundred dollar… double the charges for the next slide and within a few months, he was charging over five thousand dollars for a website and expanded his business. Daniel Ek recruited his classmates to work on the websites, students who were good with maths. He taught them programming to code the website and students who are good with drawing took up the designing responsibility. By the age of 18, he was earning 50,000 dollars per month and managing a team of 25 people.
During this time Daniel was impressed by a new company that took the world by storm with its new search engine called Google! Daniel Ek applied for a job at Google but was rejected because he didn’t have a diploma, so he tried to create his own search engine but failed miserably! All of the above things happened while he was still studying. Daniel Ek completed his graduation from sandy berg in 2002 scoring top grades in 11 subjects.
He later joined the Royal institute of technology. But after realizing that the first year in his higher studies was all about theoretical mathematics and nothing about programming, Daniel Ek left the place by the eighth week. After dropping out of college, Daniel joined an auction company called Tredera and worked there for a few months. He also served as a CTO of the browser-based game and fashion community Stardoll.
Later Daniel Ek started Advertigo an online advertising company and sold the company to Trade Doubler in 2006 and became a millionaire while he was just 23 years old. After selling Advertigo, Daniel Ek briefly became the CEO of mu torrent working with new torrent founder Ludvig Strigeus. This ended when the mu torrent was sold to BitTorrent in December of 2006. The sale of Advertigo as well as his previous work made Daniel Ek wealthy enough that he decided to retire when he was just 23 years old, had a good house in a posh neighbourhood in Stockholm, a red Ferrari, and access to the most elite and exclusive places of Sweden.
However, after a few months of partying Daniel Ek realized that the money was meaningless without a project he was passionate about, hence he sold his house and Ferrari. He moved to a house in a remote area of Stockholm and started working on a new project…
Wait! what? Did he leave everything just like that? Well yes and this was a new journey he started more meaningful in his own Purpose.
Daniel Ek – His Journey Developing Spotify
This project was Spotify. Daniel Ek first had the idea of Spotify in 2002. When peer-to-peer music service Napster took the music industry by offering free downloads of almost any song. The easy sharing platform, company was shut down after a court order because of copyright infringement. Even though the company was closed the idea of providing unlimited music to anyone at an affordable price and in a way that would be beneficial to both customers and the music industry struck Daniel Ek.
Later in an interview when asked about why he started Spotify? He said: “comprehending that you can never legislate away from piracy loss, can definitely help but it doesn’t take away the problem. the only way to solve the problem was to create a service that would better the piracy and at the same time compensate the music industry that gave us”
Spotify during this time self-discovery Daniel Ek became good friends with Martin Lorentzon who is the founder of TradeDoubler and they both decided to start a company that they would not sell armed music. They decided the idea of providing unlimited music to an average customer at affordable Pricing. Daniel Ek incorporated Spotify with Martin Lorentzon in Stockholm Sweden in 2006. In the next two years both the founders signed licensing deal with all major record companies to stream their music in Sweden and few other European countries during this time all the money required to run the company was given by Martin Lorentzon.
After two years of work on the 7th of October 2008, the Spotify app was launched with a free account and a paid subscription. The next year in February 2009 Spotify opened public registration for free service tier in the united kingdom the response was overwhelming and they even had to halt registration for the free service till September until this time Spotify was not available in united states though there were ways to download it.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a computer wizard himself downloaded the app after Sean parker the founder of Napster told him to check it out. Zuckerberg shared a post on his a personal Facebook wall about Spotify. Spotify is so good that the next day parker wrote an email to Daniel Ek “I have dreamt of building a product similar to Spotify”. The pair traded emails for a year and in 2010 parker invested 15 million dollars in Spotify parker became a board member of Spotify and helped negotiate with warner and universal on Spotify’s behalf for streaming rights in the US.
After two years of signing a licensing deal in July of 2011 Spotify launched in the united states. Just like Europe Spotify got a good response in us as well. By September of 2011, Spotify had over 2 million paying subscribers and by august of 2012, they had 15 million active users with over 4 million paying subscribers. The user growth continued reaching 20 million total active subscribers including 5 million paying customers globally and 1 million paying customers in us.
Itself over the years to follow Spotify kept adding new artists and new songs on their platform and launched in several other countries and their market domination continued they even went public on the 3rd of April 2018 with a direct listing on the New York stock exchange.
But with great success came criticism and backlash !