Spotify announces app platform (live blog)

At a New York press event, the music service's co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek confirms rumors by announcing the Spotify Platform. Early partners include Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pitchfork, and Fuse.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
7 min read
Rolling Stone's publisher Jann Wenner shakes hands with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek at a press conference in New York. Rolling Stone is an early partner in Spotify's just-announced app platform. Sarah Tew/CNET

Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek held a press conference in New York today to announce the Spotify Platform, which allows developers to create apps that link into the streaming music service's vast library of songs.

Early partners developing apps for the new platform include Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pitchfork, and Fuse.

We used Cover It Live to live-blog the press conference, so if you missed it, you can either read an edited transcript below, or replay it in the embedded component at the end of this post. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET reporters.

You can also check out this summary story about the new platform here or this analysis piece here.

Edited transcript starts here:

8:49 a.m. PT: Maggie Reardon: Hello everyone! I am here with Greg Sandoval and Sarah Tew. And we're ready for some Spotify news!

9:03 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: So, we're expecting Spotify to launch new Facebook-like apps according to the Journal, but I'll be interested to hear if the company has anything to say about the many indie bands and labels that have stopped distributing through Spotify.

9:15-16 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Here comes Daniel Ek, founder, CEO. Black hoodie and shaved head. This is the first event we've ever had, he says. He's going to review background and mission first, ratchet up anticipation. "We believe Spotify is making the future of music a reality today," he said.

Sarah Tew

9:17-18 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Who knows what the first CD was to come off the production line? It was ABBA! They're from Sweden too! Sweden is the center of the universe for music. Napster originated from Sweden. We need a better product than piracy the CEO says. I agree. People will pay for music if they have a good alternative.

9:18-19 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: He's talking about what an impact Napster had on him, "But the big problem was it was illegal." He says 500 million people are listening online. "It's all about access, can I play my music everywhere." Our mission was to give access to all of the music all the time.

Sarah Tew/CNET

9:20-23 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Now he's reviewing the company's biz model. Spotify free and premium. This is a lot of review. He's mentioning often how big a music hub Sweden is. He's obviously a proud Swede. He says more than 33 percent of the Swedish population uses Spotify and he's using that to segue into positive testimonials about the service from musicians.

Sara Tew/CNET
9:23-26 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Spotify has more than 10 million active users and 2.5 million paying subscribers. Facebook + Spotify = love! It helps people share music with their friends and helps them discover new music, the CEO says.

Ek says that the FB playlists are like the mix tapes. Remember mix tapes? I remember missing my chemistry lab in college because I had to finish my mix tape with my roommates.

Sara Tew/CNET

I get that Facebook helps people share music yada, yada, yada. But the updates are kind of annoying. And I don't want people to know what I'm listening to all the time. It just feels a little creepy to me.

9:24-26 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Spotify again is not citing total registered users but says it has 10 million active users. It would make the conversion rates look small if they compared paying customers (2.5 million) against total registered users. Ek says the more engaged users are, the more likely they are to pay. "We want music to be water." He's talking about making music ubiquitous. Here we go. The words, "The next big step for music" are on the screen.

Sara Tew/CNET

9:28-30 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Ek says people want DJ mode, song lyrics, reviews, curation, etc., "but there's only so much Spotify can do." Music is 10 percent of searches online. We're becoming a music platform, launching integrated aps, he says. The rumors were true. Launching a platform that allows users to curate your Spotify experience. They're calling it the Spotify Platform. Partners include Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pitchfork, Fuse.

Sara Tew/CNET

9:30 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Spotify has a whole list of partners on the screen who will offer the first Spotify apps.

Sara Tew/CNET

9:30-31 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone publisher, is on stage. Wenner says Spotify is the ultimate jukebox and is a dream come true.

Sara Tew/CNET

9:33 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Rolling Stone will be creating playlists. First it will be every week, but then every day. The whole idea is to help people find all the coolest music.

9:33-34 a.m. : Greg Sandoval: In case you're wondering, Wenner is a publishing legend. Hunter Thompson worked for him. At one time, Rolling Stone could speak for much of an entire generation. He's speaking off cue cards. I don't remember seeing that at any Apple event. Ek cuts him off a bit and Wenner is off the stage.

9:34 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Yay! It's show and tell time! We are going to see how some of these new apps are working.

9:34-36 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: He's going to demo apps now. Ek is going to demo Rolling Stone app. He said it will bring an editorial voice to Spotify. Ek says he's a big REM fan and he's playing one of the band's songs. And he's showing how you can read a review about the music from RS.

9:36 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: I have to say this is kind of cool. There are playlists created by Rolling Stone editors. And you can also take a look at reviews of some of the bands and artists you're listening to.

9:37 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: So far, this is a hum announcement. I think everyone in here is waiting for a killer kicker. I'm just glad nobody has used the word ecosystem yet. Every time I hear that word, I think of tubeworms and Jacques Cousteau.

9:39-40 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: There's also an app that shows the lyrics as the song is playing. This could be good for me. I need my hearing checked because I never get the words right. "Songkick" is also pretty cool. I like apps that can tell you when and where bands are playing.

9:40-42 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Ek says Songkick takes his music library and this shows him where his favorite bands are playing in town and also tells him what their last song set was during their last show. Okay, that's useful. I should remind everybody that while some of these apps may not seem that new, this is just the beginning. You don't know what those wild and kooky developers can come up with.

Sara Tew/CNET

Ek just said "I'm looking forward to the apps that haven't been developed yet." Did he hear me? He's wrapping up but he's going to take Q&A.

9:44-45 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: He's brought some developers from TuneWiki, Songkick, and RollingStone up on stage. They're saying how cool and great this Spotify is. Surprise! Now the audience is getting a chance.

9:45 a.m.:Maggie Reardon: Hip Hooray! Apps will be available to free customers too. That's what I like to hear!

9:47-49 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Q: Are you opening up this to any app developer? Ek says platform is open to everyone but Spotify will decide which apps will be allowed in. Ek says Spotify will be platform-agnostic. Q: Will apps that offer streaming music be confined to the streaming songs Spotify provides?

One of the developers is waxing on but I don't know if he's actually answering the question. Nope, don't think he did.

Ek says, Spotify is creating platform knowing these are the early days. But the company is doing this because users want more to do around music. There is no monetization for the apps.

9:51-53 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: Okay, my question is why will developers want to offer apps when they can't charge? Ek has moved on and is saying he's happy paying labels for every song streamed. He's got more guests coming. We're going to have some live music performances.Three guys on stage but didn't catch their names.

Sara Tew/CNET

10:02-04 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: The band is called Fun. The lead singer sort of reminds me of David Gray's sound, very mellow. The mini concert is still going on. We're into our third song. I'm waiting to get some hands off with some of these apps.


10:07-08 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Ek is back on stage. And now we're getting some video. And App said that there will be apps made available today! Rolling Stone, Last.fm, Tunewiki, Moodgent, and many more will be available starting today.

10:08 a.m.: Greg Sandoval: That's it. He's going to let crowd play with apps.

10:10 a.m.: Maggie Reardon: Thanks again for joining us today. And don't be shy about letting us know what you think of these new apps as you test them out! Stay tuned for more coverage of the Spotify apps from CNET and CNET TV.

Editors' note: The original, pre-live-blog version of this story was posted November 29 at 10:36 a.m. PT.