Most people now know Sean Parker’s name from that Academy Award-winning film in which he’s a main character. But long before that, his name was well known in the tech world, and especially music circles, as the guy who helped start Napster. In other words, the guy the help bring about the beginning of the end for the music industry as we once knew it. So when he has something to say about the music industry, people listen. And today he had enough to say to write a note on Facebook. What prompted this? The U.S. launch of Spotify, of course.
His full note can be found here, and we’ll copy it below, but the key takeaways are this: Spotify will jump-start the music industry, and will be the answer to piracy. You know, small things. Obviously, as an investor in Spotify, he has a vested interest in Spotify being successful in the U.S. But that investment only came last year, long after Spotify was already a hit in Europe. Parker clearly believes that it can be just as big of a hit — and a bigger one — here in America as well.
“Today’s historic announcement marks the reversal of this downward trend and the beginning of a return to growth by the recorded music business,” Parker writes, promising a “new golden age of music”. He talks about the importance of music as a social activity, noting that music listening has always been a social experience, but that hasn’t translated online yet. And while the founding President of Facebook doesn’t actually mention Facebook by name, it’s clear he feels that the social network will power this social element (and he tags Mark Zuckerberg in his note). Facebook Connect has been tied deeply into Spotify for a while now, and rumors have been circulating for months (and really, years) that the service will be a key part of an upcoming Facebook Music launch.
Parker also believes that Spotify has nailed the business model. While the core service will be free for desktop users (for a limited number of hours), most people will want their music on the go, and will happily pay a fee to make that happen, he believes. “In this sense, Spotify is the answer to piracy: migrating millions of piracy-based music fans to a legitimate platform where their consumption of music can be monetized and the artists who dedicate their lives to creating music can finally get paid,” he writes.
Find Parker’s full note below:
At long last… Spotify launches in the US!
My thoughts on Spotify launch…
Today represents the realization of a dream. For a decade I have waited for a music service that could rekindle my excitement about music by enabling music to be shared freely across the world — all the while empowering artists to reap the economic benefits of selling their music.
Spotify is the service I have been waiting for.
Since Napster the recorded music business has been steadily declining and, until now, there has been no light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s historic announcement marks the reversal of this downward trend and the beginning of a return to growth by the recorded music business.
Spotify promises to get people excited about music again, and the result will be a new golden age of music–more people discovering and listening to more music than ever before. Spotify is removing the barriers to sharing music with friends so that music can move freely and find its fans organically. In this hyper-efficient system great music will find its natural audience. This means that more artists will find success, more fans will discover them, and artists will make more money selling their music than they thought possible. The rusty gears of the record business will turn again.
Since Spotify takes music viral, listening to music online is finally going to be a social experience. (Just like it’s always been offline.) And by making music social the experience of discovering and listening to new music will be more fun than ever before. While Spotify can be downloaded and used or free on the desktop, users of Spotify will need to purchase content when they want to take music with them “on the go” via their iPod or iPhone. In this sense, Spotify is the answer to piracy: migrating millions of piracy-based music fans to a legitimate platform where their consumption of music can be monetized and the artists who dedicate their lives to creating music can finally get paid.
Spotify has created a lightweight software application that allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay. It was launched in the fall of 2008 and had approximately 10 million users by September 2010. Spotify offers streaming music from major and independent record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Users download Spotify and then log onto their service enabling the on-demand streaming of music. Music can be browsed by artist, album, record...
Sean Parker is a serial entrepreneur and a managing partner at the Founders Fund. As one of the three founders of Napster, Sean helped architect and manage the peer-to-peer file sharing application to become one of the largest on the net. Parker subsequently helped found and manage Plaxo, a VC-backed contact management application company. More recently, Parker worked as the Founding President of Facebook before moving on to join up with Peter Thiel at The Founders Fund,...