Stories » Daniel Ek: Spotify and free music will not kill the industry, it will save it / theguardian

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Daniel Ek: Spotify and free music will not kill the industry, it will save it / theguardian

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The chief executive of Spotify, Daniel Ek has predicted that the free online music service will help the industry grow to as much as 10 times its current size, in a future where old distinctions between providers break down.

Having paid out $3bn to music rights holders so far, Spotify is pitching itself as a competitor to traditional broadcasting, having recently added news, weather, podcasts and videos to its service. "The old-world paradigms we used to have are no longer true. When I think about music in the future, I don't make a distinction between what's radio, what used to be the music library, and so on," Ek told theObserver in a rare interview. "It's only going to be listening – and, as that goes forward, this old notion of these different industries or different competitors will collapse and merge together."

Spotify is stepping up its efforts to appeal to mainstream radio listeners by emphasising its collection of playlists "programmed" by an in-house editorial team and suggested to users based on the time of day, popular activities and their listening habits. "We're getting better and better at giving upcoming artists exposure on the service and creating tools to give those new artists a way to market themselves. In the future, people will listen to more music from a bigger variety of artists," said Ek. "And if we build the revenue model around ‘freemium' [a business model that gives basic products away for free], the music industry will be much larger than it's ever been before, more artists will be able to make a living by being artists and more people will listen in turn."

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