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Always Further - Referencing, prescription of cultural contents - Interview of Annina Svensson, Spotify France

What is the role of Spotify in the referencing and prescription mechanisms of cultural works and services?

The two founders of Spotify, Daniel Ek, technical director of Stardoll and entrepreneur and Martin Lorentzon, cofounder of TradeDoubler, wanted to create a viable alternative to piracy, with a platform giving the access to a catalogue as large as possible. Since 2006, they have been working on the development of their software and the negotiation of the copyrights with the majors, the labels and all the rights owners.

Today, Spotify is a music platform which allows listening to music in streaming and downloading music one at the time or in number, with a quite impressive catalogue. Indeed, Spotify has the catalogues of the four majors and more than 30 000 independent labels. Today, Spotify, is  one of the most exhaustive music platforms in the market, giving the access to more than 15 millions of titles, with all kind of musical genre.  

What are the main mechanisms used by Spotify to reference or prescribe the cultural services it provides?

Spotify wanted to created a different way to prescribe music, insofar as it already exists a lot of editorial supports of quality. Moreover, we took the position consisting in saying that the best prescription is done by relatives, friends and opinion leaders. That is why, since the beginning, Spotify works with the simplification and the rapidity of the links sharing through social networks, mails or URLs. With Spotify social, which integrated Facebook Connect, it is possible to publish a profile with playlists to one’s friend. Then, it is possible to subscribe to them in a click. Today, more than 200 millions of playlists have been created and shared by our users. We have considerably raised our audience thanks to the power of sharing of social networks.

We have also opened our API’s to facilitate the creation of an ecosystem that may be used by the larger number of individuals. A lot of projects have been created with Spotify as a source of contents and which are totally independent. We can take the example of blogs that use it or the sharing websites and the publication of playlists. They handle the role of prescribers for us.

What is the business model of Spotify?

Spotify is the legal materialization of the peer to peer use. Since the creation of Spotify, Daniel Ek wanted to develop his business model on the Freemium. Then, there is a free version financed by advertising that allow the users to discover and enjoy a free and limited access, and synchronize the personal music on one’s iPhone or Android. On the other part, two paying versions with Spotify Unlimited which allow to listen to music in streaming for 4,99 Euros a month on one’s computer. At last, Spotify Premium, which integrates all of the advantages of Spotify Unlimited on one’s Smartphone but also an audio optimal quality (320 kbps), plus listening to music even offline. The users of Spotify also have the possibility to synchronize their iPod with all of their personal music on Spotify. Then, the Premium service includes portability and mobility and Spotify is working on ameliorating the access, making its platform available from partners’ platform as Logitech, Sonos, Onkyo, Shazam, etc… Today, Spotify is a complete music platform because, since the month of May, it is possible to download titles at very interesting prices. For instance, if you buy the 100 titles of your favorite playlist, you only pay 60 Euros, that is to say 0,6 Euros the title.

To what extent does your cultural offer structure itself regarding the new referencing and prescription mechanisms?

All the strength of Spotify is in its software and its permanent development. We want to offer the best service and the best possible environment to listen and discover new titles, artists, etc. Thanks to Facebook, it is very easy to make discover one’s favorite music on one click. This sharing simplicity made Facebook our first source of traffic, ahead of the traditional research engines. Hence, the users are the ones who push to listen to a song, artist or playlist.  

Today, every user discovers about 50 titles every month through our platform, our preview and their relatives.

We also highlight some news through our blog andthe sending of a monthly newsletter. Our page “similar artists” is also very well provided; it is easy to discover new artists with this dedicated page.