What is music, really?
Technically speaking, it's a series
of sounds strung together
to cause a reaction in the human mind.
But it's so much more.
My happiest memories always had something
to do with music.
Mom dancing to Aretha Franklin
in the living room.
When her favorite song was on the radio,
we weren't two losers in a rental
listening to the neighbors argue.
Suddenly, we felt free.
I remember saving up for that CD for her.
And it was damn expensive.
I remember the patronizing look
I got at the counter
when I paid with the coins I'd saved up.
And I remember thinking no one
should have power over music in that way.
And I remember thinking that one day,
things would be different.
Because everything would be digital.
Ladies and gentlemen...
Please welcome, the founder of Spotify,
Mr. Daniel Ek!
Everyone has one of these now,
it's time you did too.
-It must have been expensive.
-It's no problem.
-Are you sure?
-Yes, open it. It has a camera, GPS...
A digital map, so you don't get lost while
walking home from the store.
Hey, I'm not that old yet!
But... Now I'll have to change
my phone number.
Yes. Well, not on the landline.
But you'll need a new number for that.
Thank you, darling. It's very nice.
-Time for a coffee?
-Do you need help?
Have you heard from Dad?
Hasse told me you got a promotion.
I'm not going to spend my life
at a little Swedish auction website.
But you could be a bit happy about it.
I've applied for other things.
A job at Google.
Oh. Where's that?
Are you going to move?
I don't know. We'll see.
Why do you save these?
What do you mean you don't?
They're lying here.
I look through them and check
the specials, then I throw them away.
You don't need all those catalogs.
What a waste.
Stop finding problems
where there are none.
-I'm not finding problems.
Come on. Enjoy the little things in life!
Have some cake.
-Come dance with Mum!
Put those down.
-Daniel, can you come here?
Have you done something?
Yeah. I've figured out their algorithm.
You'll never have to pay for ads again.
-Daniel, Google called.
They're taking this seriously.
Tradera has the top 600 places
of any search for online auctions.
You should be rejoicing.
Daniel... You are an amazing coder,
but we can't have you here
if you're not a team player.
You can't just hack Google!
Daniel, get rid of that shit right now!
More and more Swedes are using the service
Pirate Bay to download music for free.
But record labels warn
it is a gross violation of copyright laws.
The record labels are complaining out of
fear the Pirate Bay will outcompete them.
One day everything would be digital.
It was that easy. Even Mom's
coupons with five kronor discounts
that she and thousands of others
All the bloody catalogs
that ended up on every doormat
and kitchen counter in the country.
How could something like that
Advertigo. A handy little program.
One of the first that managed to
tailor ads to different users.
It got a bit of attention,
but not a huge amount.
The Swedish online marketing giant
Tradedoubler was listed today on
the NASDAQ stock exchange in Stockholm.
Advertigo was spotted by two guys
taking over on the Swedish tech scene.
In just five years, Martin Lorentzon and
Felix Hagnö took their company from
nothing to the dominating global force
within online marketing.
Sorry. I'm here to meet
Felix Hagnö and Martin Lorentzon.
Sure, you can wait in
the conference room. Come.
28, 29, 30...
32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40...
Let's go, Martin!
They'll be here soon. Coffee, water?
I'm fine, thanks anyway.
-Hi! You're the new intern.
Sit down. Felix will be here soon.
You'll learn, as an intern,
that tech entrepreneurs are never on time.
They think they own the world.
They're right, they do.
Like the guy we're meeting today.
Daniel Ek. He's built a genius company.
That thing is brilliant.
The companies get 10% of
the revenue for every click to their page.
They read your click habits and give
you the ads you want.
We've tried to make
our coders do that for years.
How does he do it?
I guess the plan is we buy Advertigo
and then Ek can do
whatever the hell he wants.
-Not like you and me...
Um, this is Samir,
he's going to intern here.
-Sorry I'm late.
It's no problem.
Have you met?
-How old are you?
Okay, so... How much are
you willing to pay for my company?
How's the champagne?
Good. It's alright.
You just sold your company
for ten million.
Smile a bit!
Let me ask you something...
You work in Silicon Valley, correct?
What is it they do that we don't?
Why do they get to change
the world while we fiddle with
tools for advertising?
-You want to compete with Silicon Valley?
We have the programmers and talent.
-Why shouldn't we show we're just as good?
If you want to compete
with the big boys, I'm in.
There's nothing stopping you.
Keep the change.
Here you go.
It's been ages.
-Good to see you.
-Did you see the gig?
Yeah, I just got in at the end,
but it was really good. Absolutely unreal.
Thank you so much.
What's new with you?
Do you see anyone from class?
You just loved everyone at high school.
Something like that.
All right. But it had its moments.
Like when you hacked into the school's
I remember. Yeah, that was actually fun.
So, do you still live in Rågsved?
Sorry, but you were f*cking amazing!
Really. I always knew you were good,
but this was a whole other level.
Thank you! It's not the Globe Arena, but...
No, but... you'll get there.
Actually, someone from Sony was here.
There you go. Record deal!
Well... Right now I'd be happy
if people stopped recording my gigs
and posting them on Pirate Bay.
-But... what are you up to?
Not much. I just sold a company
for 10 million, but other than that...
What? Are you kidding me?
-Ready to leave?
Yes! This is Daniel.
The computer genius from Rågsved.
We were classmates in high school.
And he's just become a millionaire. Mhm.
I see. Cool!
Yeah, it is cool.
Here you go!
Next time you come to a gig,
I'll put you on the list.
Oh, thank you very much.
-It was really nice to see you!
You too. Bye!
-Thank you for the evening.
The Globe Arena!
Double kabanos with everything, one Alpen
Wurst and two chorizo. Anything else?
Yes, fries and a vanilla milkshake too.
Don't you like it?
I do. It's nice.
I'll put it next to
the new toaster you gave me,
the new tea kettle, and the new water
kettle, and the new sandwich grill.
I understand that my buying
new things must be a real nuisance.
No. I'm sorry, Daniel, it...
It just feels a little unnecessary,
-I was happy with the old ones...
-Yeah. No, I get it.
How are you?
Things are great with me.
Do you have lots going on at work?
What work? I've stopped working.
I earned my money, you know that.
But it's not just about making money.
So plumbers fix people's toilets
because they think it's so much fun?
Plumbers help people.
I think that can
feel meaningful and maybe satisfying.
I guess you want a coffee?
Maybe I'll become a plumber.
So all young people who
download are guilty of this?
-But will they keep doing it?
Last time we were shut down, it took
three days to get the site back up.
Only because we were drunk
for two and a half.
Launched as recently as 2003,
Pirate Bay has already grown to become
the fifth largest site on the internet.
It's about making culture accessible
for young people.
And the way I look at it,
that can't be negative.
It started as an idea. A website.
Now we're a movement.
I can sympathize with the music industry
having opinions about this.
But I don't think we should criminalize
an entire generation.
Young people, just for downloading music,
it becomes absurd.
Do you know what we're doing?
We're writing history.
What do you think about
the measures against The Pirate Bay?
It is welcome but late.
It's good the government finally sees...
...criminals, not activists.
I think we're the heroes of this story.
And guess who are
the losers of this story?
This is a generation who
steal from artists.
...I hope they get the punishment
-Hey! How are things?
Good to see you.
Damn, what a nice apartment!
Yeah, it works.
Hey, you said to get in touch
when I had an idea.
What's the one thing
Silicon Valley can't pull off?
Getting rich without
becoming a f*cking a-hole?
...founder Peter Sunde was dismissed today...
It's this Pirate Bay thing.
It's a bloody mess.
Nobody wants to be part of the w*r between
record companies and the new generation.
So any company that could actually
capitalize on this is just backing away.
Okay, and what about this is
supposed to sound promising?
There's a great opportunity here.
A hole in the market.
Since no one wants
to be associated with Pirate Bay,
no one's created a really good music site.
That's because there already is
a great music site,
called Pirate Bay. Everyone loves it.
But do they really?
Or do people just like it
because it's all there is?
If you look at it carefully,
you'll realize it's crap.
The listings are chaotic,
you can't find anything.
Downloading takes ages,
and when you play the files,
they lag half the time. It's crap!
-But it's free. And free is best.
-Yeah. Exactly the idea.
What is that idea?
Pirate Pay lives on ads.
What do you and I know better than anyone?
Okay, but you're talking about a bunch
of hackers in a basement.
Obviously we can't
use their business model.
They turn clicks into money.
They do exactly what we do,
but one step ahead.
What other companies
have grown 900% in three years
with 30 million monthly
views on their website?
If they can do that on such a crap site,
imagine what you and I could do.
Think about it
from a business perspective.
Someone has to and will, create a
really good free music site worth having.
It's an open goal.
But what are we going to do
about music rights?
-That's what all the fuss is about.
-Easy. We just buy them.
-Yeah, that's it.
The only reason
Pirate Bay doesn't want to do
is because they're waging their
ideological World w*r III.
Martin, I can see it clearly.
I swear, this is the future.
You've already sold Tradedoubler.
Will you just sit in this apartment
with your millions and figure out how to
get the perfect six-pack?
Or are you going to show the world
that you're just getting started?
-Step one, I call investors.
No offense, but if we call in
a bunch of 34-year-old suit guys,
they'll just say everything is impossible.
I can already tell.
This must be something completely new,
this must be created by my generation.
-No, you're good.
I mean no other old schoolers.
Another thing we'll borrow
from the Pirates,
in our company, the coders are the stars.
We'll build everything around them, not
stifle them with HR, nothing like that.
Great. We need a list of the best.
I know some guys from Tradedoubler...
No, nothing like that.
This will be on a whole new level.
We need the coders nobody else wants.
Guys with diagnoses, the PhDs, the nerds,
who look down on the business trap
and hate startups.
Who were born unable to stop going on
-Do you have a list?
-I know someone who does.
Andreas Ehn. He was a top student
at the Royal Institute of Technology.
Ultra-liberal, wants free access to
everything and hates the government.
I met him consulting for a site
for digital dolls.
This will give you a chance to create
something that truly matters.
-What exactly are we going to do?
-The music site they've been waiting for.
No downloading, no waiting,
no shitty lag. Instant response.
One click playback.
Free access for everyone.
As you can
understand, we need the very best.
-We need teamwork.
-How many do I get?
-As many as you want.
-This will be expensive, right?
-But worth it.
Trust me, we can't lose.
The pirates think they're the pioneers,
but we know they're only halfway there.
You are the bosses.
Your ideas will drive progress
so we'll never compromise on that.
-What's my role?
-Chairman of the board.
The one with experience and contacts,
You're also the majority owner.
I read that you sort of know the king.
And what's your role?
I am the face of the company.
I'll show everyone that we are the future.
Okay. So we'll go with movies and music...
Music is personal.
It's an identity. Artists and bands
are like the cool kids at school.
-That's exactly what we'll be.
-The cool guys at school, huh?
Music for all.
Daniel promised no one else
will have an opinion about what we do.
The only limits are the ones
you set yourself.
And we have to b*at Pirate Bay!
Alright, g*ng! Andreas is in charge now!
So we'll have to make his life
a little difficult.
And then we're gonna build
the world's greatest music player.
-And it won't f*cking buffer!
-Can we start with that?
No f*cking lag. Can you do that?
Yes. Fredrik did some research.
0,2 seconds is the magic number.
Under that is perceived
by the brain as instant.
-Daniel, in the front.
-No, the coders are the stars here.
No! Come on, just take the picture!
Are you sure this is
where we get the music rights?
Do you think this is
what they do with startups?
Lure them into a room and then...
I'm sorry you had to wait so long.
-Sit down. Did you get anything to drink?
Don't worry about that.
So, guys. What can I help you with?
Well, my colleague and I
have started a music company.
So all we really have to do
is apply for the rights.
And that's why I'm here.
So what you'll need
to do is fill in these forms.
look through that and then fill
in your estimated advertising revenue
for your first year.
Then all we really need
is your radio license.
Mm... I'm sorry, what?
The license you have applied for
is for an online radio station, right?
Oh, right. Well, no.
I think there's been a misunderstanding.
We are a streaming service.
-Wh... A streaming client?
-Yes. I can see you're a little worried.
We have a business model and it works.
Wait a minute, here's the deal.
We're a rights organization.
We're very committed to our relationship
with the music industry.
We exist to protect the music and you want
to start up a streaming client,
that's completely different.
You're in the wrong place.
Maybe I can explain it a bit better.
We are a streaming service,
but we have a business model...
Everyone gets paid.
There's no ownership, there's no reason...
-You can talk to the record companies.
You'll want to convince them
to give you their music.
You'll have to fight them for it.
I can't help you.
Damn it, Daniel!
She thought we were a radio station!
I looked up how to get rights.
And it should just be buying the licenses.
-Where did you look it up?
Okay, that... That was funny to you?
You got me to back you with 10 million
in the music industry,
when you had no idea how
to get music rights?
Boy, oh boy.
Let's go back to the office
and tell the others.
No need to stress them out about this.
-They need to know what is going on.
-No, why? We will get the rights.
How? The record companies
have f*cking taken Pirate Bay to court!
-Why would they collaborate with us?
-We're not Pirate Bay!
-No, but we need to step up our game now.
We are so much better than this.
We have to go directly to the labels.
We just need one person who gets it.
And I will find that person.
Exciting! Where will
you find this person though? Google?
Hey, how's the build going?
Daniel, I'm just curious.
Have you contacted the record companies?
Are you sure we'll get the rights?
-Oh, yeah. Don't worry about that.
They're losing $5 million
a week on Pirate Bay.
They want a website
that will bring them revenue.
The challenge is the technical part.
If that works, everything else will too.
You can also put them in a playlist.
Working hard, I see.
Maestro, good to see you. How did it go?
It went fine.
Welcome back. Check out the new interface!
But it's still buffering.
But we're getting close.
The magic number is 0,2 and now it's 0,4.
Mhm. On average it's... 0,39778.
Okay, but we didn't say 0,4,
we said 0,2, right?
We said direct, seamless streaming.
I don't want any f*cking lag.
That's two hundredths of a second.
I'll be back when it's done.
-What's going on?
-You know the situation.
You've been to the meetings yourself.
12 meetings, four countries. The result?
We're running out of cash.
Yeah, I know.
I'm such a f*cking idiot.
At first I thought they didn't get it.
But they do get it.
They just don't want to change.
They don't care.
f*cking Titanic, they'll keep going
til the boat hits the bottom.
Okay. Do your best to solve this.
You sold it to me, said it was gonna
be bigger than Silicon Valley.
I can put in another 10 million, but
then we have to f*cking deliver, Daniel!
Look! You've got your team.
And soon you'll have a prototype
unlike anything else.
We're so close, so solve it!
But first, you need a beer.
I'm sitting here with a CIO
for Sony Sweden.
What is your opinion about
Pirate Bay's behavior in this case?
What Pirate Bay is doing is illegal,
no question about it.
But there are other things
we need to understand.
Even if no one else in the music
industry wants to admit it,
we have to face the fact
that things are changing.
We have to find a new way forward.
Same problem again,
everybody's emails are just bouncing.
Well, just fix it! The network's been down
for two hours. Thank you.
-Yes. Hey. Hello.
Hi. Reception called. What's up?
Well, I've been waiting
in this lobby for three days.
I have something to show Per Sundin.
I know he'll like it.
-I'm sorry, but...
-I just need one meeting.
-I promise, he'll love it.
-He is... His schedule is full. Wait.
Hello. Can someone please
get hold of the IT guys?
It's the same problem again. Everyone's
emails are just bouncing. Thanks.
-Sorry, I have to...
-It's probably the firewall.
The firewall is usually the problem.
I could fix it in two minutes,
if you want.
Thank you. That was impressive.
Sure. No problem at all.
Here's the deal.
Per is actually busy right now,
but Johnny from Digital is here
and would love to meet you.
Even David Bowie said
that one day the music will flow...
Do you need a break?
No, sorry... It's just that, quite frankly,
it's the fourth meeting I've had
with people like you this week.
People like me?
Yep. Tech guys who want to
turn the whole industry upside down.
You think you can replace us ordinary
people with some algorithm, don't you?
No. But something has to change, right?
Your boss seems to realize that.
Thank you, I know Sundin
thinks the industry must change.
That's certainly why someone like you,
or people like you,
will never get anywhere near him.
I'm going to lunch.
I'm sorry about this.
Don't worry about it.
He's had a pretty rough week. His closest
colleague was let go yesterday.
It's how it is. I'm used to it.
How many were let go?
15, still counting. This month.
Hey, she's fantastic.
Did you sign her?
-No, not yet.
But if it were up to me,
we'd do it right away.
-Not that many people know of her.
-We went to high school together.
-I saw her recently and she's bloody good.
-Oh, cool. I was there too.
Will you be there tonight?
I didn't know that. Maybe I'll come.
It's not impossible
that Per will be there.
Andreas... We're going to a concert.
Bring your laptop.
You sure he's here?
Yeah, his assistant said he would be.
Hey, by the way, there's something I...
I'm sorry I've been so f*cking rude.
Sorry I underestimated how hard
it would be to get the music rights.
Without them, it doesn't matter
if we're down to 0,4 or 0,2...
Sorry, excuse me... I'll be back.
-I'll call you back.
-Bad time? Sure?
-Not at all.
You should have called,
I'd have put you on the list.
Oh, yeah. Sorry.
It's been a bit much lately.
-Has something happened?
-No. Not like that.
It's a new thing. A site for free music.
You look sceptical.
-Not a fan of free music?
Something like that.
But this is something different.
Artists get paid, it's win-win.
Let me show you.
If you ask me,
the problem isn't people downloading.
The record labels,
they're the real problem.
-They're living in utter denial.
Have you never downloaded anything
to avoid paying?
Of course, but now it's another thing.
I'm trying to fulfill my dream...
And prove to my mom that I'm not
completely crazy for doing it.
You did this in high school too.
Yeah, you always managed to get people to
see things from your perspective.
You always had the best laugh.
-We're on in five.
Oh, by the way,
I heard Sony's boss is here tonight.
-Are you sure?
Okay, a kick for luck. A kick for luck!
Okay. Like that?
-Yeah! See you.
There! There he is!
Hand me your laptop.
-If you want me to sign a band...
-No, this is Daniel Ek.
-From the other day...
-I know how to save the music industry.
Okay. Alright... Good.
But hey, have a nice evening.
You said something needs to change, right?
We have something. It's a music player.
You're going to run a demo
here on the street?
It's like nothing you've seen before.
Free music on a whole new level.
Quality, design, intelligence...
Wait, what did you just say?
-No, you said "free music".
-We have a business model...
What the hell makes you think
I'm interested in free music?
-I wanted to talk to you because we know...
-No! Music can't be free.
-Alright, but listen... If you just...
If I hear one more g*dd*mn pitch
based on free music,
I'll make it my personal mission to crush
your g*dd*mn shitty companies.
Do you understand? Get a real f*cking job.
Let's get back to work then.
I can't lose! Next time.
-Okay, go for it.
Oh, f*ck this!
-You're having a good day as usual.
Absolutely. You have to
see the possibilities, you know.
Have you seen the new
youth consumer behavior stats?
They get 90% of their information
from the internet
and spend an average of two hours
a day on it. And 40% over 4 hours.
Do you actually realize how much that is?
It won't be the old guys
at the record companies
deciding if Spotify gets to exist.
-It will be their kids.
Let's see here!
Here's something called Spotify.
What do you think of free music?
Follow the instructions on the card.
Go in and test it out, and then you can
show it to your family and friends.
Michael Jackson, The Supremes, Prince...
Any music, anywhere in the world.
Tell all your friends too.
Spotify, it's a new music site
with all the world's music for free.
Sounds good, right?
-Take some cards for family and friends.
Don't forget to tell your friends too.
What the hell? That's not how it happened.
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01x01 - Episode #1.1
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.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
1 post • Page 1 of 1