Top Swedish Music Exec Shares What To Expect As Spotify Launches In U.S.
With the U.S. launch of Sweden based Spotify imminent, we asked one of that country's top music executives to share how the popular music service has changed music consumption and the industry there, and what we should expect. Johan Lagerlöf is the CEO, Co-Founder of X5 Music Group. The company recently expanded its U.S. operation adding a NYC office headed by former AmazonMP3 executive Scott Ambrose Reilly.
What effect has Spotify had on the Scandinavian music market?
Lagerlöf: Spotify has had the biggest impact on the Scandinavian music market since the launch of the CD. Spotify is currently the biggest single revenue source for the music industry and is estimated to be over 3 times bigger than iTunes in Scandinavia. Despite that, digital downloads grew 17% in Sweden last year compared to 3% in the US. Piracy for music has almost stopped.
Should the US music industry welcome Spotify?
Lagerlöf: If someone is willing to pay the music companies and is able to convert people into paying music subscribers, the music business should embrace it, whether it's Spotify, Apple, Google or Amazon.
Has Spotify, as some have said, helped eradicate music piracy in Sweden?
Lagerlöf: Yes it has. Or to clarify, it has eradicated music piracy almost on its own. Sweden was the home of Pirate Bay. They even had their own political party and made the prime minister in national television declare "Off course the youth shall be able to download music for free".
Three years later, The Pirate Bay is not mentioned by anyone anymore. Spotify is, on the other hand, mentioned by almost everyone – including the old Pirate bay fans.
This did not happen because some new radical law or brutal police force were implemented. Neither because a confused prime minister changed his mind again and embraced the music industry. It all happened simply because the users found a new legal service that they actually thought was much better than the old Piracy one. Now, some time later, when they have invested their time and effort in making playlists etc. and would like permanent and unlimited access to it – they are starting to pay for music. For the first time in their lives – music is worth paying for.