‘Everything linear dies’: Spotify wants to kill radio as we know it

Managing Editor

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek didn’t beat around the bush during his call with investors this week.

The tech titan made it clear that radio was its only competition in the man-made race to become the most powerful on-demand audio company in the world.

Ek and his chief bean counter were fielding questions from analysts after releasing first-quarter results on Wednesday when the Swedish billionaire reaffirmed intentions to outplay radio.

“Both short and long term, we are always thinking about Spotify’s role within the larger ecosystem,” said Ek during the investor call.

“While most of the focus is on competition between streaming services, we continue to be focused on the billions of users who are listening to linear radio.”

According to Music Ally, during a proceeding interview, he continuously returned to the belief that the big audio trend over the next 20 years is the move from “linear to on-demand”.

Commercial radio networks are well versed and share in that belief, with the big four in Australia doubling-down on their audio efforts in recent years, with some promising results.

The big difference is the business model, with radio chasing advertisers and the streaming giant focussed on acquiring paid subscriptions. As for the content war, both are playing a hard game.

At one point, reports Music Ally, Ek said his vision means “everything linear dies”.

But that’s not big news. Spotify’s former CEO, Barry McCarthy, has previously said “linear dies” and that “everything on-demand wins”. However, it reveals their strategy hasn’t changed much.

When pressed about whether Spotify has plans to raise its monthly subscription fees, Ek again made it clear the race to wipe out terrestrial radio remains the company’s top priority.

“Our primary strategy is growth rather than maximising revenue,” he said.

“That’s due to the fact that we see this amazing opportunity of moving from radio to on-demand audio… that’s what you’re seeing us go after.”

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Laurie
4 May 2020 - 3:24 pm

Ek haven’t you realised that radio and your cheap jukebox service are miles apart.
you really need to think before you start shooting off. I’m sure shareholders love you rhetoric though.

Truth
4 May 2020 - 3:49 pm

Radio hates itself from the top down becauue they want to join something cool, emerging, measurable and a story to tell sharholders. Give it away to people who give a shit about local and buy a startup

Old Man Yells at Cloud
4 May 2020 - 5:28 pm

Like Cobb & Co cursing that upstart Henry Ford, radio needs to accept it will no longer be the dominant force in audio consumption in the 21st century.

If radio were truly doubtful about the threat of Spotify and digital broadly, they would not invest in iHeart, Soundcloud and their own on demand digital platforms. The vitriol reveals the insecurity.

Global radio advertising is a very big pie, this kind of commentary is both embarrassing and unnecessary when you weigh the opportunity against the threat.

Pablo
5 May 2020 - 12:03 am

Radio missed the boat on this big time.

20+ years ago It could’ve been on the front foot, instead the ‘industry leaders’ sat back and stroked their egos about how prosperous they were in the late 90s.

Hang your heads in shame.

AdrianR
5 May 2020 - 1:57 pm

Radio missed the boat. They had a chance when DAB+ launched to really promote it and offer great options on DAB+ radio channels but instead the big operators ignored it and refused to even acknowledge it existed.

The seeds were sown even earlier as the commercial radio operators, in conjunction with the ABA/ACMA blocked new FM stations in capital cities. Cities the size of Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth should have 6 – 8 commercial FM stations in order to provide a variety of formats that listeners want. Instead they have 4 each and so nobody is happy. With such limited choice people turn to alternatives like Spotify or streaming overseas stations. That is what has happened.

The Australian commercial FM landscape is abysmal because of the artificially limited number of services and resulting lack of choice in format/music played. Therefore people have gone elsewhere and will continue to abandon radio. It’s that simple.

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