2002 was a tough year for the music industry. Music-sharing alternatives populated the internet as piracy issues troubled artists and record labels. Motivated to build a platform that could combat piracy while compensating musicians, Daniel EK developed the framework of Spotify, a music-streaming application that would change the way music was heard for the next eleven years.
Spotify’s business model, although simple, struggled to take off with record labels. The company spent a majority of their time convincing European record labels to open their catalogues to the service, and after securing enough licensing rights, Spotify launched in 2008 exclusively in Europe. It took three more years until the United States would see Spotify, but the platform was excitedly welcomed by two million paying subscribers within the first two months of the launch – more customers than it had in the past two years.
Founder Daniel EK continued to hone in on the app’s potential in order to streamline the listening experience. Key partnerships with Starbucks allowed frappucino-drinking customers to tune into the exact playlists at their outlet, and integration with Facebook opened the door to endless ways to share favorite artists, albums, or user-created playlists. On December 11, 2018, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You became the first song to past two billion listens on Spotify, proving to the rest of the world not only of the popularity of music streaming but the potential it had to bring the music industry closer to its followers than ever before.