01x05 - Episode #1.5

Episode transcripts for the TV show, "The Playlist". Aired: October 13, 2022 - present.
A Swedish tech entrepreneur and his partners set out to revolutionize the music industry with a streaming platform.
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01x05 - Episode #1.5

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I'm Martin Lorentzon,
I'm doing a Summer Talk.

Yes, you've come to the right place.

-I'm Felicia.

A pleasure!

Wow, what legends!

This feels completely right.

I'll be talking from in here,
so you'll hear me from these.

Brilliant! This feels like Kaj Kindvall.
Do you remember him?

-Yeah, sure do.

My dad listened to him a lot
when I was younger, I remember.

-Okay. Yeah. Cool.
-Mhm. A favorite.

Did you get an email about a script?

No, we'll play it by ear.


-Let's go.
-Let's go.

Just get this started!

So... Let's make a toast
to Sofia and Daniel. Cheers!


Excuse me, everyone.

Just want to raise a brief toast
to the beautiful bride and groom.

You may know me, I'm Martin Lorentzon,
I am the co-founder of Spotify.

Though Daniel knows me as the guy
who paid for his mistakes

for the first five years.

No, seriously, I just want to say,
you did well, kid.

You've always exceeded expectations,

defied the naysayers
and refused to give up.

I mean, look. You made it.

And I just want to say I'm proud of you.

I'm proud because
it's the first thing I haven't paid for.

No, seriously, that's unfair.

Daniel isn't cheap, you know.

He is a very generous and
wonderful and big-hearted guy...

That's the word I would use
to describe him, big.

He's got a big heart,
a big mind and, you know,

I know what Sofia likes about him
is his enormous,

gigantic co...

Has anyone ever described your brain
as "neurotypical"?

Or its functional characteristic
that determines what is appropriate.

When to be serious,
and when to cr*ck jokes.

Without the neurotypical,
we wouldn't have civilized society,

we wouldn't know how to organize ourselves
or have different values.

But that brain... has never been my brain.

4 x 7 = 28.
5 x 7 = 35. 6 x 7 =...

I can't have a student
who disrupts the class like this.

I grew up in what was called
the happiest generation ever.

We had peace, prosperity, good schools,

and we knew how to behave
in order to prosper.

But for some reason,
I could never really follow that plan.

Here he is, two-time Olympic champion
Ingemar Stenmark!

And there he goes.
He's going for a third gold medal!

He can't afford to lose, no mistakes...

He's got two tenths of a second left!


Listen, listen now!


Vidar is here.
From the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

What the hell is this?

You ask me here to discuss
how you'll take over the IPO

and what do I see?

No, we interviewed a new head of HR.

We're a tech company,
you gotta have some fun.

We can't sit behind desks all day.

It is not healthy. The Stockholm Stock
Exchange is for serious companies.

-And you're clearly not there yet.
-Yes, we are.

Martin doesn't have much to do with
day-to-day operations anymore.

He's here as a consultant and has some
unique skills that our company needs.

Yes, you are an odd character.

Be grateful your partner
has his head screwed on.

Mm, exactly. Um...

If you go outside for a bit,
I'll talk to Vidar alone.

Growing up, I've always felt a little...


All the other boys seemed so
orderly and Swedish in how they thought.

They all marched to the same tune.

But in my head it was more like
17 big bands,

40 DJs and a bunch of death metallers
all playing at the same time.

Unfortunately, no one else seemed to hear
the same tune as me.

But then one day this funny guy
came to the office to pitch his software.

Advertigo is unique. When you search for
a product, say a phone,

that instant,
the service provides all similar products,

specifications, prices...
Total access to the entire web.

Isn't that what Google is doing
with Froogle?

It's not the idea, it's the execution.

Google just does it badly.
My software, it's perfect.

What if you search for three products?

Is the data cross-referenced
across all searches?

Yes, Felix, that's a given.

-Why are your searches slower than Google?
-That's the point.

One in 300,000 searches leads
to an actual sale.

The point is not the selling itself,

but how much advertising we can sell
while people are searching.

Other entrepreneurs chase
new ideas until they drop,

but for me... there's only one factor in
making a business work.


Good to see you!

Congrats, Daniel!

You sold your first company
for 10 million.

Come on, smile!

-It's not exactly Google.
-It's not Google.

What does Silicon Valley do
that we don't?

-Why compare yourself with Silicon Valley?
-Why not?

We have programmers and talent.
We can show how good we are.

Okay, pitch.

If you want to compete with the big guys,
I'm in.

There's nothing stopping you.

If you've found a gray stone that has
the potential to become a diamond...


...you have to go all in.
There is no middle ground.

Stop here.

-Hey, Martin!
-Hi Daniel.

-You good?

Good to see you.

So we buy you out and you buy a Ferrari?

Yeah, it's nice, isn't it?

-It's red.
-And damn fast.

-And draws a lot of attention.
-Yes, it does.


-Where to?
-I'll show you something.

I can't leave it.

The whole of Sweden is
watching that horse. It's fine.

-What's going on?
-We're starting a company.

Okay, why?

We'll show them, Daniel. We'll
show them how f*cking wrong they are.


Good luck.


That's so much money.
Is that like a villa?

You're out of your mind.

No, I'm just so tired of everything
being so proper all the time.


Check this out!

As Swedes, we try to hide this.
We think capitalism is ugly.

We want to regulate it,
but maybe we shouldn't.

The people here are honest
and do what they want.

-So you gamble away a fortune?
-I'm going to test my strategy.

As if... That's not a strategy,
that's a bad idea.

-Didn't we say we'd show them?

Think of a good idea
and I'll do the strategy.

I don't have one.
I just found out we'd be working together.

You said something about advertising.

How can we create behavioral patterns
for people exposed to ads.

Well, I suppose you could...
go bigger maybe. Search engines...

Too late. Google is too big.

Seven, black.

A lot of money.

Yup, a lot of money.

Think of something not already dominated
by a brand.

We need to create something global.

We need to think beyond little
gray socialist Sweden.

Place your bets, please.

f*ck the welfare state!
Here we go. Think of something new.

Okay, what about media?

Streaming, people download
what they used to buy.

What kind of media?

Film and TV.

Too expensive. Needs too much bandwidth.
Something else.


If not movies, then something
that works well with advertising,

international, easy to consume... Music.

Place your bets, please.

Ouch, f*ck.

Why music, Daniel?
Come on, why music, Daniel?

It's already big online.
It needs to be done better.

Why do they need us?
What's not working now?

Music is not a luxury.
It's something we all need...

It's like water or food.
Something better than this pirate site.

Yeah. Whoever creates that is doing
something really f*cking beautiful.

No f*cking way.

All of that took place in about six months
and most in Daniel's apartment.

But the point is, we clicked.

At least I thought so.

This is exciting and all, but...

-I don't know if I can work with you.
-Why not?

I know what it's like
to bring in other people.

You want to go all in,
but I know how it ends.

You'll think I'm a pain
because I push on something.

You'll say it's impossible, too expensive.

That's how it is.

People want to invest, but no one dares.

I just dared to deposit 12 million
into your account.


It's true.
Think of it as starting capital.

You put 12 million into my account?

No strings.

-Do what you want with it.
-Are you serious?

Yes! Can't you see
I want you to be difficult?

I want you to say "f*ck you!"
to the extreme socialists.

And create something so perfect
that everyone wants it.

You are crazy for real, huh?

You know there's no guarantee
if I take this money...

I believe in you, Daniel!

In us.

I'll give you anything you want,
but you give me one thing in return.


We have to trust one another.

-Okay, let's do it.
-Okay? Yes.

In marriage, you want someone like you.

Same tastes, habits, sense of humor.
In business, it's the opposite.

You want a cad if
you work creatively,

someone who does tech
while you do finance.

But the recipe for success
is the same in both cases, trust.

You need confidence in your partner
from day one.

Trust them when they are at the top
and when they are at the bottom.

Have faith in them,
even when they're pissed at you.

And you have to count on them
when you give them more money than

they could ever dream of.

You have to have faith, even if everyone
else says you're crazy for it.

And in return, they have to do the same.

My job was to get the money.

Wow! You're in shape, I see.

Keep your training program up!

-It's working.
-Hey, shut up!

You're going to meet my colleague.
This guy is smart, Niklas.

A real visionary.

Martin, wait a minute...

Don't get me wrong, I'm really flattered,

but I don't know a thing
about the music industry.

Well, music and cars,
how different can it be?

I want you on the team
because you're a dangerous negotiator.

And it is hard as hell to dislike you.

Above all, I trust you.


Daniel, Niklas. Niklas, Daniel.

A pleasure.

This is the guy in Detroit who makes
US car execs eat out of his hand.

-A wolf in sheep's clothing.
-Calm the f*ck down. Don't overdo it.

There is one thing
I am a little worried about.

And that's...

really this whole thing.

How the hell are we ever supposed
to make a profit on this?

Our investors
aren't interested in profit.

Look at that old man.

He probably orders the same soup,
cake and coffee every day.

How excited do you think the restaurant
manager is about the profit on his meal?

And then here we come, and we sit down,
and right away we make an impression.

Excuse me! Sweetheart!
I'm so hungry today, can I...

I'm sorry, do you mind if I just...

We don't just want a little piece,

we want the whole cake.

To be honest, I want this pastry too,
it looks amazing.

Actually, I don't just want pastries,
I want this cake, how about that?

And how about some macaroons
and apple strudel and stuff?

And look at these muffins, I like those.
You should have that one, Niklas.

And before you look now,

who do you think the restaurant manager
is most focused on?

Us or the old man?

Yes, sure,
but sooner or later the bills will come.


It's not time for the bill.
First, I'll order all the starters.

and all the main courses as well,
and when I've done that...

-Are you following?

Then I will start over
and order all the desserts again.

Yes, but still, Martin.

No matter how long you put this off,
sooner or later,

-the bills will start rolling in, right?
-By then we'll be in a different position.

We'll have shareholders.
Thousands of shareholders

who know that if they want some dessert,

they have to come... to our table.

Because we have all
the restaurant's desserts here with us.

And they're the ones who pay the bill.


Does anyone want some cake?

You can start a business,
build it from the ground up,

put your whole soul into it,

but if you don't know
who to surround yourself with,

it's going to hell anyway.

Hey, where are we headed?

I've heard rumors
of an amazing party planner.

Yeah, and?

-I found her on Facebook.

I hope you get
that I'm seriously not hiring anyone.

It's all right. I'm not employing anyone.
I'm just messing around.

-Hello! Martin Lorentzon.
-Sophia Bendz.

A pleasure.

-My business partner, Daniel.
-Okay, I'm impressed.

You've managed to create all this
with just Facebook.

It's better than handing out fliers.

We're launching a music player

and we'll need someone
to handle PR.

No, thank you. No.

No? Okay.

No, handling PR, that's...
Do you know what you're talking about?

The landscape changes every day and it...
Take YouTube.

They had 100,000 users three months ago.
And now they have 20 million.

Digital music is a feeding frenzy
right now.

You'd be competing against Pandora,
against iTunes, and the pirates.

To stand a chance,

your site needs to be
all Twitter cares about.


They launch next month.
It'll change marketing.

This is all really fascinating but we need
to focus on the technology, Martin.

I don't even know you.

But you will. Come by our office
and have a look...

-Sorry, but no.
-Whatever you earn now, I'll double it.

-Hold on!

We're going to make you Global Marketing
Manager at Spotify, so what do you need?

-You're serious?

I want my own department,

I want my own budget,

I need to have full control
over my own strategy.

A central role in everything,
not just frills on the side.

Okay. Deal.

Okay, good! I'll get drinks.

-Oh, my God. "I'm not employing anyone"?
-Yes, but she's right!

I don't care.

We can't launch a modern company
with outdated tools.

Startups usually launch in three months.
We're not even close.

We have no licenses,
the technology isn't ready

as I've said, and I talked to the bank.

They said the money
you deposited is used up.

-It'll work out.
-It'll work out?

I'll find investors, it's under control.

Let's see... One drink each. And cheers!


Was I really so sure?

Of course not. But I knew Daniel
would deliver on the tech.

And all I had to do was deliver
from my end.

We're really interested.

But since the music sector
is so uncertain right now,

we feel that a more wait-and-see
approach suits us better.

I fully understand
that you want to be cautious,

but this technology Daniel has
created is revolutionary.

You don't want to miss
this opportunity, Esther.

It's an astonishing product, Martin.
But we'll wait and see.

For at least six months.

Never falter in front of the money
people. But I knew I was in trouble.

Even if she wanted to join a little
later, we didn't have six months.

I was barred from selling more shares
so if no one dared go in now,

we would be broke within two weeks.

Fortunately, I knew venture capitalists
are like kids in a sandbox.

No one wants anything till
they think someone else will get it.

So... this isn't about golf, is it?

You just wanna pitch Spotify again.

Oh, no.

Actually, my co-founder Daniel,
he met with some young investors

who were very happy to come in.

-Come on, Anton.

You know I can't divulge. Don't worry.
I might let you in for the second round.


So... who's this secret investor you have?

Come on, Martin!

Anton from Arctic.

-Are you serious?

Martin, come on.

You haven't heard it from me.

Of course not.

Esther Ren.

What conditions does Arctic offer?

I can't tell you that.

All the ballpark figures. How much?

-I'm not asking for the precise amount.
-All I can say is whoever backs us before

we get the rights
will make the real money.

So in theory,
and this is purely hypothetical,

how does the offer look for investors
entering this early?

5% of Spotify for $10 million.

I'm sorry Anton, that moment has passed.
You know how it is.

If you wanna come in, not saying you do,
but if you did,

it would now be for 8,5% at 20 million.

12,75% for 30 million.

Best split I can offer now
is 40% for 40 million.

Okay, final offer.

20% for 60 million.

20% for 60 million.


Spotify can accept both Serendipity
and Arctic as investors,

if you are willing to split.

-Let's go.

And at that moment I realized
that I had made a mistake.

I thought I was the one
driving the price up,

but suddenly I realized that they had been
prepared to pay much more.

I had undervalued Spotify.

And the opportunity to set the valuation
would never come back.

You did what?

I changed currency. At the last second,
I said, "change dollars to euros."

Are you crazy?

It's more money. The same figure,
but euros are worth 20% more.

-Who would agree to that?
-Trust me, Daniel. Learn to trust me.

Why did you have to do it
last minute?

It has to be on our terms,
we have to show confidence.

Jesus, Martin, we're running on steam.

In two and a half weeks
we won't be able to pay wages.

It will be fine. Trust me.

And how do you know that?
What if they say no?

What if they laugh in your face
for trying something so stupid?

If they call before six, it's a no.
If they call after, it's a yes.

-A no is simple.

I left an hour ago,
a no comes within an hour.

A yes requires a little more time.

A bit of marinating
and that sort of thing.

-It takes a bit more b*lls.

Exactly. I've done this before.
Now it's after six.

What should I tell everyone else?

We had a deal
but your b*lls got in the way?!

It'll be fine, 100%. 100%.

f*ck, Martin.

We needed this deal...

Hello? Hi, Anton. Yes.

Yes. Have you looked at my proposition?

Well, all we want to know is,
are you on board with Spotify or not?

Yes or no?

Jesus, f*ck, we're...

-Shut up.
-No way!

You crazy bastard!


The madman trick.
When you have nothing,

the only thing you can do
is make them think

you're ready to leave the table
at any time.

We launched Spotify in autumn 2008.

Now we were finally on our way.


are you okay?

Yes. It's all good here.

Am I boring you?

Absolutely not.

I'm here sharing my life story
with the whole of Sweden.

You're telling the Hollywood version where
nothing bad happens and no one fails.

This Summer Radio Talk isn't just
about what you've accomplished in life.

It's also about insights
and self-development.

And what I, what we,
the Swedish people want to hear is how

this journey has impacted you
and changed you.

How can your story inspire other people
who choose to listen to you?

That's what I want to hear.

Let me just continue my timeline, okay?

I'll put it this way,
Spotify's 2008 valuation was $250 million.

In 2009, $300 million.

In 2010, a billion dollars.
2012, two billion dollars.

That's crazy money.

So how can a startup be worth
so much money in such a short time?

Because the market says so!

-The laws of nature no longer apply.

When your valuation exceeds
a billion dollars, you're a unicorn.

And then all the heavy hitters
want to get on board.

Okay, but what's the point
of all this right now?


I met with Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal.

But also the guy who first went in
and invested in Facebook.

It was in that meeting
that it all became clear to me.

What do you mean?

I figured it out.

I sent Peter your pitch
and he'll be here in a moment.


-Hey, where's all the furniture?
-Oh, Peter doesn't like chairs.

He says they prolong meetings.
They prolong everything.

I love it!

So much space, clears my head.

Wow, look at it! It looks
exactly like a running track, you know?

Me and my family, we are athletes
and I used to run a lot with my siblings.

I'm gonna keep this in the office,
this is so cool. Wow!

Mr. Lorentzon.

Peter! I love your approach.

No furniture? I think I'm gonna have to
steal this. I love it.


I liked your pitch, but have you
ever thought you might have a condition?

-ADHD, maybe.

Something everyone thinks is a shtick,
but it's almost certainly in your role.

-What's he talking about?
-Don't worry, you're in good company.

The average rate of neurodiversity
in the wider population is about 5%.

The tech industry, it's about 30%.

I'm sorry, I am aware
how I come across.

I'm on the spectrum myself,
or so I've discovered.

Oh, you are?

I think society is both something
that is very real and very powerful.

But quite problematic. You agree?


I only point out many successful
entrepreneurs seem to

be suffering from a mild form
of a condition.

Asperger's, ADHD... Where it's like...

you're missing
the imitation socialization gene.

It happens to be a plus for innovation
and creating great companies.

We'll get out people to send over
the paperwork, but... we're in.

It was as if... all your life you've been

dancing, spinning, doing backflips

and always feeling completely fearless.

Then someone points out that everything

you've done has been balanced
on a loose tightrope.

All this time I just thought
I was different, a bit more energetic.

Not that I had a condition.

But you know how Americans are,
they diagnose everything.

I know, but... I don't know where I end
and where the condition begins.

Martin. You are you. Don't change that.


-You sure?

Yeah, well, something's gotta...
It has to be less me, doesn't it?

-I have to change...

We have a problem. A big f*cking problem.

Taylor Swift has just spoken out
against Spotify.


-Attention seeking.
-You think she needs more attention?

What if everyone does what she does?
What if the artists follow?

They won't. Come on, Taylor Swift!
Honestly, ignore her, it's just bullshit.

She's the world's biggest artist.

It wasn't bullshit.

It was a w*r zone, and we never knew
where the next b*mb would h*t.

I didn't think it would come from
my friend, Daniel.

She boycotts Spotify in favor of Apple.

Not having her costs $500,000 a month.

We're still growing faster
than anyone else.

We're entering more markets than Apple.
She'll be back soon.

We can't give in now.

If we give an artist special treatment,
every artist will want it.

We can't back down now.

If we don't act, it's like we don't care,
we seem arrogant.

-That's what we're accused of.
-Arrogant! We're just one step ahead.

Daniel, I promise,
if we just take it easy,

one by one, the artists will give in.

How much ad revenue will this lose us?

Yes, I understand. Of course, no problem.

That was one of our investors.

She was clear that we will do anything
to get Taylor Swift back.

Here he comes.

Let me handle this, Daniel.


-Very nice to meet you.

-You too. Martin!
-Hi, Stanley. How are you?

Thanks for coming. I really appreciate it
and hope we can discuss

this amicably
and come to a solution.



Just to be clear, we are not
offering your client special terms.

That's never going to happen.

We're talking about Taylor Swift.

We treat all artists on Spotify
exactly the same.

This might not be the right time
for the madman card.


Taylor is out-streaming
her nearest competitor 2 to 1.

She was responsible for 1 in
20 streams on your site. What, um...

-Just gonna walk away from that?
-If we have to, yes.

Guys, come on. It's not 2006.

You're not the punks
scaring the hell out of us, this is 2014.

We know Taylor drives traffic
and we just want our share.

-Your share?

Let me show you what your share
would look like,

if Spotify dies
and piracy takes over again.

Are you f*cking serious?
Is this guy for real?

You trying to be f*cking funny here?

If I wanted to be funny I'd b*at you
in a dance-off or arm-wrestling.

We can do that anyway.

That's how much difference
this will make to reality.

What the f*ck?

I invited you guys here
to talk to grown-ups, alright?

You're showing me comedy graphs
and offering to arm wrestle me.

The game has changed.

Okay. Yeah.
Well, we're done here, alright?

This is outrageous. You know...

I heard from people
that you were serious.

I heard you understood our world,
is this how you think you do business?

You think you'll survive?
This is how you win trust?

You think it's gonna be funny
when you have the best tech in the world

and every major artist leaves your player?

We don't. Listen, Stanley, I think...

Martin has a very unique voice
and right now

he's speaking for himself,
not the company.

-Daniel, we agreed.
-You and I can handle this.

-Martin! I'll handle this myself.

Let's go inside. Please.
Sorry about that.

I've taken a lot of hits in my life

because of who I am.

But that has also taught me
that I can't be anyone else.

And I've always wanted to be someone

who is completely my own
and free from all the rules.

Can I just... Okay.

-You're welcome.



-How are you?

-Know what I just did?

I talked to Mark Zuckerberg and
Peter Thiel about women in startups.

-Very interesting.

Then Bruno Mars came along.
He had some interesting ideas!

Isn't that crazy?

Me, Bruno Mars, Zuckerberg and Thiel
talking about women in startups.


So many interesting people.

-Everyone's here.
-Yes, everybody is here!

Honestly, my speech.
How was it? A disaster, right?

Martin. No, it wasn't. It was very you.


-Hi Martin!

-Good to see you.
-You too.

-Yes, thank you!

And what a place, huh?

-Oh yeah.

-And the bride, look how beautiful she is!
-Yeah. Incredible.


Hey, Martin? Daniel wanted
to talk to you. He's down there.



Thanks for telling them
how big my d*ck is.

What are old friends for?

-Nice party.


There's a lot of talk about this IPO.

A lot of guests have introduced
their own firms.

-They know how strict the exchange is.
-Okay, I get it.

You think the introduction will go faster
if I step down as chairman first?

Well, we've had a hell of a journey,
haven't we, you and I?

Did you forget about me?
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