I have to say that my knowledge of Swedish swear words is incredibly limited. Normally, this would not bother me in the least – but I can think of one situation where it might have come in useful. And that occasion was a day or two ago, in Daniel Ek’s office at Spotify.
Heaven only knows how he must have responded when the announcement landed on his desk that TikTok’s owners had decided to launch their own streaming service. Somehow, I cannot imagine the entitled Ek, who thinks music is a product that should be pushed out like chickens in a factory, would have been too pleased to see yet another competitor on his patch.
Here’s the bit I don’t understand though. Why? What’s the appeal of setting up a streaming service? None of them seem to make any money. Spotify has never turned a profit once since its inception in 2006 – something which would put any company in almost any other sector out of business and its directors hauled in by the authorities for a probing, but totally accepted as normal in the music sector.
What is TikTok going to be able to bring into music streaming which everyone else isn’t? The answer to this question is equally unclear. All the streaming sites basically have the same music. The TV streamers have noticed this. Disney, for example, broke away from Netflix, Sky and the rest to set up its own platform. If Lucian Grainge wakes up one morning and decides that he wants to be even more rich than he already is, and decides that setting up a Universal Music streaming service is the way to do it, Ek is stuffed.
It’s the same for any other streaming platform with Universal’s music on it. Grainge could choose at any time to withdraw his company’s music and place it on his own platform. Yet for some reason, no one in the streaming industry has yet noticed this fatal flaw in their own business plans.
Streaming is heading for big changes, government inquiry or no government inquiry…