Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Spotify's Daniel Ek Splashes Down at D: Dive Into Mobile

Next week, we’ll be putting on our first brand extension of the highly successful D: All Things Digital conference with D: Dive Into Mobile.

And we’ve just added an exciting new speaker to the already top-drawer list: Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify.

For those living under a rock, Ek (pictured here with co-founder Martin Lorentzon) leads one of the most exciting music services on the Web right now.

In fact, the Swedish entrepreneur is shaking up how and where people listen to and consume music.

As MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka–who will be interviewing Ek onstage–recently wrote of Spotify’s efforts to bring its hugely popular (and legal) streaming offering to the U.S. market:

In Europe, where Spotify has been a very big success, listeners can stream an unlimited amount of music, on demand, without ever paying a cent. But in the U.S., rival streaming services like Rhapsody, MOG and Napster generally only offer a very brief trial period of a few days before requiring that a pay wall go up.

For the past two years, Spotify has insisted that free, unlimited streaming is the only way the service will work, because that’s Spotify’s most effective marketing technique. Subscribers who do pay up get benefits like ad-free music, and the ability to port their songs to mobile devices like iPhones.

But the labels, most notably Warner Music Group, have insisted that unlimited free streams only serve to strip away their product’s remaining value–if you can listen for free on Spotify, why would you ever buy another CD or iTunes single?

The whole mobile music space is a riveting one to dive into, of course, and we think Ek is the perfect person to help us do so.

Ek will appear Tuesday morning, December 6, but D: Dive Into Mobile opens on Monday, December 6, with an evening onstage interview with Google Android majordomo Andy Rubin.

The new conference represents the very first brand extension of our D: All Things Digital conference, now in its ninth year of grilling the big names in tech and media to sold-out analog audiences and scores more on the Web.

And, as always, there will be no PowerPoints, no panels and definitely no pontificating.

What there will be are unrehearsed, unscripted and unexpected interviews with top players, taking a big-picture view of the broader digital landscape.

But, unlike big D, D: Dive Into Mobile is topic-focused, drilling down deeply into the ubiquity of mobile technology and devices, and its implications for brands, organizations and consumers worldwide.

Offering a more intimate and focused conference setting, D: Dive Into Mobile will feature other industry heavyweights, including: Dan Hesse, President and CEO of Sprint Nextel; Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of Research in Motion; Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard; Joe Belfiore, Vice President of Windows Phone Program Management at Microsoft; Jon Rubinstein of Palm, now owned by Hewlett-Packard; Foursquare CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley; Google Ad Products Management head Susan Wojcicki; and AT&T Emerging Devices President Glenn Lurie.

D: Dive Into Mobile will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and, as usual, we’ll be liveblogging the whole thing and also posting highlight videos.

Along with Walt Mossberg, Kafka and I, Mossberg Solution’s Katherine Boehret will be conducting the interviews.

You can sign up here for D: Dive Into Mobile.

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Reject the cynics that say technology is flattening your experience of the world. The people who say that technology has disconnected you are wrong, but so are the people who say technology has automatically connected you.

— Melinda Gates, delivering the commencement speech at Duke University