Facebook, Spotify and the Future of Music

LIVE@LEEDS

By Steven Levy /Wired November 2011

A decade ago, Napster’s attempt to set music free was crushed by the music labels. Now, Facebook and Spotify (not to mention Google, Amazon, and Apple) have resurrected the dream. Hallelujah.

Even if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t been introduced to Spotify two years ago, it was probably inevitable that the two companies would hook up. The European music service had already won millions of fans, thanks to a business model that allowed music nuts to stream any song, instantly, for free. More important, it made it easy for people to share music with one another. This vision—of music as a social experience—fit perfectly with Facebook’s view of the world, which values sharing over all else. And that’s why, when former Facebook president and Napster cofounder Sean Parker discovered Spotify in 2009, he made a point of telling Zuckerberg about it.

“I’d never even…

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