‘The Playlist’ tells a very interesting story about the rise of Spotify


A silence from ‘The Playlist’.

Hi Mark, we’re going to talk about Spotify. What did you think of the Netflix series? The playlist?

‘This is a six-part drama series about the birth of Spotify, the music streaming service that – I had to look it up – was founded in 2006. Spotify, like Netflix, can no longer be ignored in everyday life. The playlist is based on a book about the company’s history, Spotify Untold, written by two Swedish journalists. There is also a Swedish series of the same name. I think The playlist an interesting series, especially going back to the early years.

Each episode tells part of Spotify’s story from the perspective of an involved character. In the first episode, for example, we see the CEO and the man who invented the technology, Daniel Ekberg. The next episode is about the head of Sony in Sweden, the established order that had to be convinced about Spotify. In the third episode, viewers follow a woman behind the scenes as a lawyer who has closed all contracts with various record companies.

‘The story of the turbulent early years is always told from a different perspective and it just works well. The playlist also shows the chaos in the music world around the year 2000 that led up to the creation of Spotify. Then there were the pirates, with Pirate Bay as one of the biggest parties. Like Spotify, it was also a Swedish club that tried to break the monopoly on the big music festivals more from a hacker mentality. Spotify first brought an elegant way to quickly access all that music. You couldn’t say that about Pirate Bay, a messy site full of junk. We hardly think about it now, but it’s still pretty amazing how all the world’s music can be heard at once.

‘The sixth and final part is about Spotify’s future. A rather strange episode that I’m not quite sure about yet. We see how a singer, played by singer Janice, who is famous in Sweden, becomes the face of a worldwide rebellion against Spotify, who are said to have taken over the role of record companies and are now allowed to decide which musicians earn. That’s significant for the Taylor Swifts of the world, but you regularly hear that smaller artists only earn a few tens a month on the entire Spotify construct. Well, The playlist is not the very best drama series, but it tells a very interesting story.’

You notice a trend in series land: series are increasingly being killed off or ending up on another streamer. What’s up with that?

‘You can see that the major streaming services have withdrawn a number of major titles in recent weeks. Netflix launched the fantasy series last year 1899, which was set up with the idea: this is the first season, but we will really go crazy in the following seasons. And suddenly Netflix announced that there won’t be a second season. Of course, this leaves your fans incredibly hung up – even apart from the creators who thought they were telling a story spanning three seasons. For example, several series disappeared rather abruptly, some were even recorded.

‘It is connected to the fact that the streamers no longer invest in new products just to recruit new subscribers. Finding shareholders and companies: it’s time to start making money and not investing endless millions in new productions. This development will certainly continue in the coming year. I wonder how it will affect future series. There are few creators who are guaranteed to produce new seasons. It also means that series will tell stories in a different way, where a completed story is seen more often within a season. Even if you have the green light, a new season is not certain.’

And these series are also worth watching:

Into the post-apocalyptic world The last of us (★★★★★) is eerily compelling.

Three Pine Trees (★★★★☆) is an excellent addition to last year’s popular whodunits.

Leave a Comment