The Business On... Daniel Ek, Spotify
Thursday 02 September 2010
Let me guess: another youthful internet mega-star
Got that in one. Mr Ek's the founder of Spotify, the internet music service that allows you to access almost any track you care to mention for the relatively minor inconvenience of putting up with odd advert or paying a small monthly subscription to get them removed.
So why's he in the news today?
Well the problem with Spotify is that it is rather limited – you can only get it through it your computer (and your mobile phone if you pay up). It is therefore tough if you are the sort of person who likes to listen to high quality music in surround sound in your living room. Mr Ek's hoping to crack that problem via a deal with Sonos, which makes wireless music systems.
Erm, who are they?
Ah, well, if you were into fancy hi-fi equipment you wouldn't be asking. Sonos' products are high-spec and expensive. They're favoured by just the sort of people who don't much like to listen to music through their computers because it tends to sound, well, tinny and flat.
So world domination is on its way?
Oh yes. Interestingly Spotify is a tech innovation hailing from Europe. It's not yet available in the US. Mr Ek is working furiously to secure deals with the music companies so he can launch before the end of the year. Given that Spotify was designed to offer an alternative to the illegal downloads which are smashing their businesses, he'll probably succeed.
Crikey – so he's the European Mark Zuckerburg then?
That's not such a bad comparison. Mr Ek could have been a star of "Junior Apprentice" – he started his first business at 14. Chances are he'll end up being worth rather more than Lord Sugar. The Swede – who is still only 27 - thinks his business could soon be fetching "tens of billions". Recent valuations have puts its value at around $200m and Mr Ek recently raised $50m from investors including Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong billionaire who's other notable holdings include, you've guessed it: Facebook.
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