At one time, Spotify seemed like a business launched for failure. In 2008, when it first became a thing, streaming music was almost unheard of. Walking the line between piracy and iPod, Steve Jobs himself claimed that Spotify would not last (NPR). Alas, Spotify is now the world’s most valuable music company. It provides DRM-protected content from record labels and companies. Valued at a whopping $25 billion dollars, the company is beating Apple Music.
Spotify was founded in Sweden. The CEO, Daniel Ek, is thirty-five years old and has $4 billion in stocks in the company. Although Spotify has grown immensely since ten years ago, the company barely makes any money. The company itself employs about 3,000 people. For ten dollars a month, subscribers can unlimited access to not only streaming music, but downloading as well. In fact, 157 million people use Spotify, and 71 million of them are paying customers. It also supports many labels. Artists from any level of fame can put their music on Spotify, keeping fans updated. As such, many record labels get exposure that they otherwise would not have.
However, the concept of streaming continues to be controversial. Although the artist get some royalty when someone plays their song on, it is less than a penny. Spotify might provide exposure and options, but it definitely serves the customer more than the artist. On the other hand, without the platform Spotify provides, many of these artist would not be able to then move their careers to the next level where they could make some real money. So yes, for now Spotify is the most valuable player. I think streaming music is so ingrained into society now it will be hard to transition back to iPod days, and music is more likely to continue in the direction of becoming increasingly cheap and available. Only time will tell.