Spotify founder Daniel Ek has lamented the fall out with pop star Taylor Swift and was hopeful something would be "worked out soon" to bring her catalogue back to the service as he welcomed Apple's move into music streaming.
Speaking at IAB MIXX via a video link from Sweden, Ek discussed his early days working online having started coding at eight years old. He went on to discuss starting Spotify in 2007, describing the music industry as "sad" at the time.
"I always loved music and fundamentally when I looked at it I saw that people were consuming music more than ever before in terms of the diversity of artists so clearly there was a lot of appetite for music, but the business model behind the music was broken. And if you could marry the consumer experience and thinking about the new business model, maybe that was the future of the industry," he explained when asked why he chose to concentrate on such a "broken" sector after the rise and fall of piracy site Napster.
He revealed that Spotify has 75 million users worldwide and of those 20 million are paying customers.
"What we really set out to do with Spotify was create a feeling as if you had all of the world's music on your hard drive...what we created was this thing where within 200 milliseconds you could listen to any song whatsoever," he stated, admitting that the target audience was 'the lost generation' who had never owned a CD but had found piracy services available.
"If we provide a great enough service enough of them will find the benefits of paying for legal services again," he continued before discussing plans to move "beyond music" to "non-music content" through podcast and audio book network partnerships and video providers such as BBC, Vice, Conde Naste and Viacom.
"One of the categories that was growing the fastest was non music content," he revealed of downloading trends. "One of the reasons we saw that people weren't using Spotify in the car was that we couldn't provide them with traffic reports. So this was a big inhibitor to drive adoption."
He didn't rule out movies being added, but said that the platform's content would be anchored in lifestyle and music primarily. "We want to give more music moments in our users' lives,” he continued.
Asked about the fall-out with recording artist Taylor Swift who removed her music from Spotify last year, he said that certain artists choose to not participate and added that they hoped to reconcile with her "in the not too distant future."
Of her departure over the giving away of music for free, he agreed that it shouldn't be as "it has a lot of value and it should have a lot more value than it currently does. What we want to do is we want to grow the entire music ecosystem so we can have more artists support themselves off of music. We do agree with her and we do care, but what we are trying to do is move these people who are on platforms that aren't monetising music at all into legal requirements such as Spotify."
He said of Swift's argument that there were still other platforms such as Pandora or YouTube where her album could be heard for free where she might not be compensated.
"Today it is really hard to prevent a customer from getting access to hear music for free. The impact it had was that Middle America found out what Spotify was so we had a huge success on the basis of this but truthfully I wish we could have gotten that attention in another way than pissing Taylor Swift off."
Of advertising on Spotify's Freemium platform, Ek claimed that it had two-and-half hours of its users lives a day when discussing engagement and described it as "complimentary" to the Facebook experience; "There will be a renaissance of sound in a way much like it will be in music itself where we are trying to move the audio ads to the next level in terms of quality and how we interact with them as well."
Of the 'Streaming Wars', Ek said "We are really fighting against ownership and that the axis model is the future. To have the world's largest company and the one who cemented ownership say that the axis model is the future is a great thing. Too many people look at this as a winner-takes-all scenario...for us it's really great to have people investing in this space trying to drive the market forward and not be the only ones moving it forward and saying 'streaming is the future.'
He added there was room at the table for everyone for the next couple of years as it was still early for music streaming.
Ek finished by speaking about subscription businesses collaborating and said he was proud of moving away from 'a windows-based system' where people released songs regionally rather than globally and media consumption habits competed with X-Box, SnapChat and YouTube through mobile, claiming that Spotify also complimented those user experiences as well.