A history of Spotify


If you hadn’t noticed already, we like our history here at Winzum, but not the boring stuff! Oh no, when we think of history at Winzum we’re often interested in how some of the largest tech companies in the world came to be so influential and useful. Just look at our history of Amazon article for proof [a history of Amazon].

Another organisation that has proved themselves to be one of the defining forces behind the 21st century online revolution is Spotify, the music streaming service that has almost singlehandedly transformed the music industry. Whether you like it or hate it, there’s no denying Spotify’s impact on the world.

There are obviously problems with Spotify, as you can see here [some of the negative aspects of Spotify], but at the same time you cannot ignore the huge number of positives either. Ever wondered about the history of this titan of music streaming? Stay tuned for a Winzum history lesson on Spotify…

2002: The seeds of the Spotify idea

In 2002, at the young age of just 19, Spotify founder Daniel Ek had an idea that was spawned after the demise of early file-sharing site Napster. In his own words, the Swede proclaimed that “laws can never legislate away from piracy”.

And he went on, “Laws can definitely help, but it doesn’t take away the problem. The only way to solve the problem was to create a service that was better than piracy and at the same time compensates the music industry. That gave us Spotify”. So there you have it: the early seeds for the Spotify idea.

2006: Spotify begins its journey

Amazingly, by the age of 23 Ek was already a millionaire, with the sale of his start-up company Advertigo proving to be big money. Despite this extreme success, however, he wasn’t particularly happy, and knew that he had to turn his attention to a new business endeavour.

And so Spotify was born, with Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon founding the company in 2006. In the early days Spotify was operated out of a small apartment above a coffee shop… Oh how things have changed!

2011: Spotify hits one million subscribers

One of the main obstacles for Ek to negotiate in the early days of Spotify was gaining streaming licences from various record labels within the music industry, because without this there wouldn’t be any music for people to actually listen too.

As you might expect, this took a fair amount of time to complete, however by 2008 Spotify was finally ready to launch properly in the EU. In an insane level of growth, the company hit one million subscribers only three years later in 2011. Result!

2015: Spotify starts podcasts, video streaming and more

As the Spotify catalogue of available music slowly swelled to become by far the biggest in the streaming world, so too did its customer base. In fact, only a couple of months after announcing one million subscribers, Spotify hit two million, something that perfectly encapsulates their incredible growth.

By 2015 the Spotify team had set their sights on a number of additional things, and it didn’t take long for podcasts, video streaming and live news to be incorporated into the service.

2021: Where does Spotify go next?

In 2021 it seems as though the sky is the limit for Spotify, and it begs the question: where does Spotify go next? Well, over at Winzum we’re not quite sure, although we do know one thing that the company needs to pay more attention too – the artists themselves.

Streaming revenue is absolutely laughable for 99% of the musician’s on Spotify, and the platform has come under fire again and again for this. Hopefully it is something the company can rectify in the years to come…

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