Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Spotify Says It’s Headed in a “New Direction”

Apple launched its newest music offering a week ago. Google went a few days later. Now Spotify says it has something up its sleeve, too: The streaming music service just sent out a mysterioso invitation to a Nov. 30 press event in New York.

As has become standard issue for this sort of thing, the invite for the “global press conference” hints at big news and spells out zilch — just that the company has “some exciting news to share with you,” and that CEO Daniel Ek will be there, along with “a special guest or two.”

I asked Spotify PR for more info, and they were equally oblique, passing along this reply via email: “At Spotify, we continually strive to innovate and deliver exciting new experiences for our users. In New York on November 30th, we are holding our first press conference to unveil the latest major development from Spotify — and a new direction for the company. The press event will be hosted by CEO and Founder Daniel Ek, along with special guests.”

Alrighty. So it’s time to start guessing:

There are a couple of obvious things that Spotify can add to its product lineup that I assume are in the works. In Europe, for instance, Spotify offers an MP3 store, so users can buy songs directly from the service instead of heading to iTunes or Amazon (and now, Google). But the U.S. version of the service doesn’t have one.

I also assume we’ll see an iPad app for the service at some point, but perhaps one that functions more like a remote control/console than a full-fledged client.

But neither one of those developments seems worthy of a press conference. And the company has generally avoided big launch events in general — when it rolled out in the U.S. this summer, for instance, it did so without ever putting Ek onstage. So, either the company has something truly big up its sleeve, or it is courting the risk of overpromising.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald