Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Spotify Event Was Great

Spotify LogoImage via WikipediaThe Spotify CTO Talk

Spotify is in the same building as Google. I show up and there is Melissa. She is with Barnes & Noble. They are also in the same building. I did not know. I met her at a NY Tech MeetUp after party a few months back.

Free pizza is a great start to an event, I think. Good thing I don't drink beer. Otherwise they had plenty of those too.

The CTO Oskar Stal - who I got to talk to at great length after the formal event was over - started the talks. It was amazing to me how he was obsessed with company culture. He wanted Spotify's engineers to feel like there were many small team startups inside of Spotify. That seemed to be his number one concern.

Later I asked during the question answer session: "Should you not have the Chief Culture Officer title instead?" He said he did culture and many other things.

Henrik Landren gave a great talk - replete with great slides - on all the immense data Spotify collects. I got to see a side of Spotify I had not seen before. Artists get to see where their fans are. That would really help them plan their tours. Magic. Hadoop came in handy.

That made me think. Otherwise I told Oskar, I feel like Spotify is a finished product. What is there to add except more songs and more countries? He is like, oh no no no. There is so much to do.

And I thought, what I want is a Spotify that is in every country and hosts every song from everywhere. And based on what I listen to helps me discover new songs from all over the world. Just like you help artists find where their fans are, take me to new songs that you think I might like based on what I listen to. That discovery engine aspect could be a relentless project, like search is for Google. Google never stops working on search. It is constantly improving. It is constantly tweaking the algorithms.

During the question answer session I asked three questions, two more than anyone else. My second question was to Henrik. Oskar got up and said, I will answer it. Henrik is like, I got it, I will take it.

Met Peter Vesterbacka Of Rovio Of Angry Birds Monday Evening

The question was this. The most common criticism of Spotify is most artists don't make much money on it. But now I know through use of data you provide them they can really go where their fans are and make good money selling tickets to their shows. Is that part of your business model? All that data sharing?

My third question was a general one. What about a Spotify for movies and books? Especially movies. They said they are to stay focused on music. And I will not have it any other way. They have so much to do.

Being able to borrow New York Public Library books on the Kindle is Spotify for books. Movies are not there yet, not even close.

It is because the movie industry has not felt the pain the music industry has felt this past decade, Oskar suggested.

Gigabit broadband should take care of that.

I showed up for the event wearing my hat which is not the fanciest hat out there.
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