The 29 year-old founder of Spotify, Daniel Ek, has explained that creating something better than piracy was his primary motivation in launching Spotify, the "freemium" music streaming service that is now enjoyed by more than 20 million users worldwide.
Speaking to ABC News' John Muller, Ek, who was born in Sweden (the home of The Pirate Bay) explained that the heavily social Spotify wasn't born out of a desire to emulate the success of Pandora or even Facebook. "I decided I wanted to create a product that was better than piracy," said Ek.
The idea behind Spotify was to convert people who were downloading songs illegally into those that could still listen and discover all the songs they needed, without having to alter their budget. Spotify has an ad-supported free listening mode, as well as a premium mode that not only removes the ads, but also adds additional features such as iOS/Android streaming and offline streaming.
But an idea is just an idea, and it wasn't easy to get all interested parties on-board, especially record labels weary of the free listening model and how it could eat into their bottom lines. "Eventually, we convinced the record labels by getting them to use the product, as well, and from there on we continued to grow," Ek explained.
And grow Spotify does. Last week, Spotify announced that it now has over 1 million paid subscribers in the US alone, with 5 million users of the premium account worldwide. With 20 million active users worldwide, this means a conversion rate (from the free service to the premium one) of 25%, an impressive figure.
More satisfying for artists and labels is the fact that Spotify has already generated more than half a billion dollars in revenue for them so far, with half of this coming from the last nine month.