Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Spot to Identify

Sweden has given a LOT to the modern era. H&M. IKEA. Swedish House Mafia. The list goes on. The country itself seems to be churning out creativity left and right. However, there is one more recent product of Sweden that stands out above the others: Spotify.

Spotify is an extremely popular music streaming site and application launched in 2008 by a pair of Swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. The name itself is a "portmandeau" of spot and identify, two concepts that they found essential to creating the personal atmosphere of individual music tastes that is the cornerstone of their company.

Ek is the primary creative behind this industry-changing application, and is an interesting story in his own right. He had little fear of the risks most entrepreneurs face, and he started his first company when he was only 14 years old. Before a US citizen could even take Driver's Ed, Ek was building a business and trying to gain a following for his advertising company. He has also played a key role in five other business ventures in Sweden, including companies acquired by eBay and TradeDoubler.

He was inducted into the SUP46's Swedish Startup Hall of Fame as of October 2013.

Spotify is Ek's greatest project to date, as it not only is a streaming service but a hub for finding new music, connecting with friends and their music, and organizing music that listeners already know and love. Ek has revolutionized the music industry by giving access to millions of songs for free to users, and even more opportunities to Premium subscribers. Spotify has managed to gain more popularity in comparison to other music sharing or streaming technology because of the price. Ek ensures that his motto is taken seriously, Spotify: Music For Everyone. He uses personalized software to better pick songs that listeners would like. Not only that, but the algorithms they use to recommend new music have proven to be more consistent and help draw in clientele. Anyone who has used Pandora and then followed by Spotify Radio (or even more particular, their Discover Weekly feature), knows the disparity is rather apparent.  He has also been the pioneer of a program within the application that matches music to the pace of a runner, to better encourage a workout.

Ek exhibits numerous aspects of a creative mind that we have discussed. He is an exemplar prodigy, as he began producing meaningful work at such a young age. He also has partnered with another strong creative who takes a somewhat lesser role in the creative processes of the business, as we have discussed in our last lectures. Daniel Ek is a modern creative, slowly bringing his ideas into the public sphere through his collaboration and years of experience in his field.

Another common factor in the life of a Big C Creative is controversy. Undoubtedly along the way, if the creative is introducing change to an established system, people will fight back. In the news recently has been the argument between pop idol Taylor Swift and Spotify over the payment that musicians receive for putting their music on Spotify. 

She spoke openly and publicly about how she felt Spotify does not pay enough and that she is fighting for the “underrepresented artists” that she feels Spotify is not treating properly. However, these artists can have very different views on the system, as it gives them access to a larger following, and does still pay them royalties. Also, Taylor makes plenty of money  for her music, so the debate is fiery.

Either way, Daniel Ek and Spotify have forever changed the way this generation listens to music, discovers it, and shares it. His ability to cross his entrepreneurial spirit with his extensive knowledge of technology allowed him to give birth to this creative masterpiece.

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