Daniel Ek, the CEO of many people's favourite streaming music service, Spotify, took to the stage at the SxSW festival in Austin Texas for a keynote speech and admitted that the company still isn't ready for a US launch, amidst rumours that it's having trouble securing the necessary agreements from the major labels.
Ek was evasive about the reasoning, saying: "The most important thing for us when it comes to US launch is that we want to build the best possible product we can and get all ducks in a row, partnerships with next generation of Spotify. Sort out publishing which is a huge task. Here you have to strike deals with almost 5000 publishers. Big thing for us is working on next gen of Spotify and getting that out there".
However, Ek did have some good news. He related that Spotify now has 320,000 paid subscribers. That's only about 4.5% of its userbase, but it's a higher proportion among the company's active users. He also gave a few more numbers - there are 100 million playlists, but that 30% of those just consist of a single album, suggesting that the album format is far from dead.
Lastly, Ek dropped a few hints about the next edition of Spotify, which seems like it's still a while away. He said: "What we've been working on for last 6-8 months is next gen of Spotify. How to make it more connected. Easier sharing and management of music. We’ve realized people spend a lot of time on Spotify and they tend to manage their music with Spotify". He also suggested Spotify may soon become available on set-top boxes and home media players.
But it seems that part of that plan doesn't involve building a social network: "We never want to be a social network ourselves. We'd rather piggyback on their networks to help with discovery".