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Spotify’s Daniel Ek: ‘Live is something we’re excited about’

Working with artists to help them reach more fans in the live space is “in line with our strategy”, says the streaming firm's founder and CEO

By Jon Chapple on 29 Jul 2021

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek has said the leading music streaming service is “excited about” exploring further opportunities in live music, following a series of Spotify-branded live streams and rumours about an expanded role in the concert space.

Speaking during yesterday (28 July)’s Q2 2021 earnings call, Ek addressed recent reports that Spotify, which has more than 150 million subscribers globally, is seeking to establish a greater live events presence through livestreamed and, potentially, physical concerts.

Responding to a question from financial analyst Hamilton Faber about “how easy [it would be] to scale in this space”, Ek said: “Depending on [your point of] view, [we have] been involved in the live space now for many, many years, both having as a feature the ability for artists to post upcoming concerts on their Spotify pages and then subsequently with our own playlist and brands like RapCaviar which been doing some shows with tens of thousands of people in attendance… So we’ve been in this space for quite some time.

Ek added that while he “can’t really comment on [the] sort of product tests that we’re doing” in live music, the live experience “is a meaningful thing for many of our creators and it’s something that we’re excited about,” he said. Referring to its recent ‘virtual concert experiences’ in partnership with livestreaming pioneer Driift, Ek said: “In the past quarter […] we did some digital live concerts and tested that, and saw some really positive results from that, and lots of excitement from our artist partners about Spotify helping out during Covid and providing more meaningful ways for them to monetise their fan base. And I think that’s in line with our strategy.”

“We want to work with as many partners and provide as many opportunities for creators as we can”

At its core, said Ek, Spotify remains an “open” business willing to work with multiple partners, including in the live space. (It has previously partnered with the likes of Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Festicket, AXS, Eventbrite and more.)

“To the extent that live will have an even bigger impact, I think we’re still an open platform,” he explained. “We want to work with as many partners as we can and provide as many opportunities for creators to create; more ways to turn a listener into fans and turn fans into super fans and increase the monetisation for those creators.”

He added: “I think the most important thing really is we’re very, very creator focused. And so live, if you think about music creators, is today the vast majority of all the income that normally flows through to an artist. So, to the extent that Spotify can be helpful in driving live outcomes, that’s going to materially improve the earnings of an artist, and that obviously means that we can be an even more better partner to artists…”

Spotify stock fell 3% yesterday, despite the New York-listed company reporting better-than-expected revenue for the quarter.


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