Answering a question for Spotify CEO Daniel Ek at AllThingsD’s D10, Spotify director Sean Parker confirmed that “there was some indication” that Apple tried to keep Spotify out of the U.S. market.
“There was some indication that was happening,” Parker said, “It’s a very small industry in a lot of ways, certainly smaller than it was 12 years ago,” he joked.
“We’re in constant re-negotiating so you hear things. People send you emails,” he said not divulging any further detail, “Apple was threatened by what we were doing,” Parker said, implying that Apple eventually got over that threat, as Spotify eventually did end up launching two and a half years after its founding in Sweden.
“Even if their Music Store component went away, they’d still be okay,” Parker went on, referring to the fact that iTunes was a fragment of Apple’s total revenue.
It took Spotify a famously long time to jump across the pond from Europe to America, “I expected it would take twelve weeks to get Spotify into the U.S.,” Parker said, “Deals with record companies took 2.5 years.” Perhaps it was Apple’s prodding that slowed down the process?
Spotify currently has 18 million users, 10 million active users and 3 million paid users, but Ek insists that the value of Spotify is not its usership numbers, but rather the fact users have curated over 700 million playlists. The playlists are the competitive advantage over competitors like Apple or Amazon who could ostensibly build a similar service at any point, “We’re not huge fans of patents, even when enforceable they don’t offer the same protection as network effect,” Parker added in support. Ek didn’t seem scathed by the possibility of competition.
“Look at Ping.,” Daniel added gleefully, “[Tim Cook] said he might scrap it.”