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技术 - 2011科技头脑风暴

Spotify高管:音乐产业的未来在于访问权

JP Mangalindan 2011年07月25日

在线音乐服务商Spotify的CEO丹尼尔•埃克雄心勃勃,计划占领美国市场。盈利与否目前并不在他关心的问题之列。

丹尼尔•埃克

    Spotify登陆美国一周后,其首席执行官兼共同创始人丹尼尔•埃克出席了在科罗拉多州的阿斯彭举办的《财富》科技头脑风暴(Fortune Brainstorm Tech),畅谈公司的快速发展。

    Spotify是一项简单、合法的“自助式”音乐服务,它在欧洲的部分地区取得了极大的轰动。Spotify采用了一种“免费+增值”的商业模式,用户可以免费欣赏1,500多万首歌曲。相比之下,像Rhapsody和Rdio这种音乐服务则需要用户提前按月支付订阅费用。目前Spotify在美国提供了三个等级的服务:首先是免费版(有广告),它和欧洲免费版的不同之处在于没有收听上限,用户想听多少就听多少;其次是无广告的桌面版,每月收费4.99美元;最后是高级版,每月收费9.99美元,用户还可以在移动设备上进行流媒体下载和储存歌曲。

    在上周四的采访中,埃克着重介绍了Spotify的商业模式,称其已经颠覆了音乐产业。他指出,尽管人们普遍认为音乐产业越来越不景气,但事实上现在人们听音乐听得比以往任何时候都要多。

    埃克说道:“在音乐业的历史上,最大的问题就是用户需要如何购买音乐或唱片。而Spotify的商业理念是,拥有所有权固然很好,但访问权才是音乐业的将来。”Spotify把该公司所有的音乐资源都向用户免费开放。埃克相信,用户会渐渐喜欢这项服务,然后在Spotify上搜索更多的音乐、专辑和歌手,最终他们会沉迷其中,主动掏钱购买“高级版”。

    Spotify现在已经在8个国家生根发芽。埃克也承认,公司最近把大多数精力都放在了开拓美国市场上。(事实上,埃克首次承诺Spotify将登陆美国还是两年前的事。)这在很大程度上是由于Spotify与唱片公司的谈判旷日持久。因为据报道称,唱片公司很怀疑Spotify商业模式的生钱能力,担心它无法给唱片公司和歌手们带来利润。

    显然,这些唱片公司最终做出让步还是由于Spotify在海外表现出的增长前景让他们动了心。到目前为止,Spotify已经拥有1,000万名用户,其中付费用户已达160万人。Spotify希望在赴美运营的的第一年里就能积聚超过5,000万名用户。(不过就如何实现这一雄心勃勃的目标,埃克拒绝透露细节。)

    虽然他不愿详细透露公司的财务信息(事实上,他甚至不愿透露他的公司目前是否赢利),但埃克提到了苹果(Apple)公司的收益分成模式,同时坦言,大部分收益将流向唱片公司和歌手们的腰包。目前,苹果的应用销售收入有70%归研发者,苹果公司自己则分得30%。Spotify的赢利问题特别惹人关注,这是因为另一家音乐服务商——潘朵拉(Pandora)始终深陷财务泥淖不能自拔:潘朵拉已经成立11年了,尽管这家数字音乐广播公司的营收入不断增长,同时广告收入也在增加,但潘朵拉始终在赔钱,从来没有扭亏为盈过。自从2000年创立以来,潘朵拉已经巨亏9,210万美元。

    在竞争问题上,尤其是在谈到来自苹果和谷歌(Google)这种大公司的竞争时,埃克表示,全心全意做一件事情的公司在这件事情上的表现往往比那些全面出击的公司要出色。至于潘朵拉,埃克表示,潘朵拉和Spotify的服务是互补的。

    “在以前的世界里,既有收音机,也有唱片店。但是在这个新的、完全不同的世界里,既有潘多拉这样显然走广播路子的服务,也有Spotify这样的服务。我们关注的只是如何管理用户的音乐,我们希望成为用户的音乐收藏库。”

    为了推进这一目标的实现,Spotify正在着力研发新的工具,以便使音乐库的运行速度更快,并使这项服务更加社交化,而不是像现在这样,只有播放列表的分享功能。

    埃克还表示:“社交化和连接设备是音乐业的两个大趋势。人们之所以愿意付费,主要原因就是它的便携性……而随着这项服务的社交化,当人们进行互动的时候,他们分享的音乐越多,他们建立起的音乐库就越大,Spotify的价值也就越大。将来能够成功的音乐服务,必然是最简单、最快捷、最社交化的音乐服务。”

    译者:朴成奎

    One week after Spotify launched in the U.S., CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek discussed his company's rapid growth at Brainstorm Tech in Aspen, Colo.

    The simple, legal "all-you-can-eat" music service has made waves in parts of Europe with a freemium model that lets users listen to over 15 million tracks for free, compared with services like Rhapsody and Rdio that require upfront monthly paid subscriptions. Spotify in the U.S. currently offer three distinct tiers: a free ad-supported service that unlike the European version does not enforce a monthly listening cap, a $4.99 ad-free version for desktop listening, and a $9.99 "Premium" plan that that also lets users stream and store songs to mobile devices.

    In his interview today, Ek emphasized how Spotify's model is disrupting the industry, pointing out that despite the widely-held belief that the music industry is in decline, people are listening to music now more than ever.

    "In the history of music, it's been about how you need to buy this record or song," he said. "What Spotify is saying is ownership is great, but access is the future." In opening up the company's entire music catalog to users without them having to pay a cent, he believes they'll listen to and discover more songs, albums, and artists and eventually get so hooked they'll want to go "Premium."

    Spotify is now in eight markets, with Ek admitting that the U.S. launch took up the vast majority of the company's recent efforts. (In fact, Ek first promised a U.S. launch nearly two-and-a-half years ago.) That's due in no small part to drawn-out negotiations with record labels, which were reportedly concerned about the service's freemium model and whether that would translate into revenues for them and artists.

    Apparently, it was promising growth abroad that swayed them. To date, Spotify reaches more than 10 million users, 1.6 million of which pay. The company hopes to amass 50 million more users during its first year of U.S. operations. (Ek declined to specify just how he plans to achieve that ambitious goal.)

    And though he would not break down the numbers -- indeed, he would not even specify whether the company is currently profitable -- he did envision the majority of revenues going back to labels and artists, referencing Apple's (AAPL) revenue-sharing model: 70% back to say, app developers, with Apple taking 30% for itself. The issue was of particular interest given Pandora's own financial struggles: Despite ads and growing revenues, the 11-year-old digital radio company has never turned a profit and actually incurred $92.1 million in losses since it was founded in 2000.

    On the subject of competition, particularly from big companies like Apple and Google (GOOG), he insinuated that companies that do one thing well often do better than companies that try to do multiple things. As for Pandora (P), he says both services are complementary.

    ld, you had radio and record stores," he said. "In the new world, a different world, you have services like Pandora which is clearly radio. With Spotify, all we really care about is we want to manage your music. We want to hold your music collection.

    To further that, the company is focusing on tools to build music libraries faster and make the service more social beyond the playlist-sharing features in the current apps.

    "There are two megatrends: social and connected devices," said Ek. "The main reason people want to pay is portability. ... With social, when people interact, the more music they share, the bigger library they build, and the bigger value Spotify becomes. The music service that is the simplest, fastest, and most social -- that's the one that will win.

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