“I’ll tell you who did pop by last week and wanted to spend a couple of hours there–a very famous American performer, Jimmy Buffett,” Spotify investor Shakil Khan told Betabeat. Mr. Khan, known as “Shak” to his friends, was on the phone from London, but discussing Spotify’s new base in New York (in a charmingly posh British accent, we might add). ”Being based in the UK, I didn’t know who Jimmy Buffett was, but everyone was telling me margaritas and Hawaiian shirts and stuff,” added Mr. Khan, a serial entrepreneur who also works as Spotify’s head of special projects and advisor to founder Daniel Ek.
As Betabeat has previously reported, Spotify is looking to hire a technical recruiter for its New York office, which is the company’s third-biggest location after Stockholm, then London. But Mr. Khan had some new tidbits to share about its New York outpost, which features requisite startup trappings like a ping-pong table, but really throws down with an old school Pac Man Arcade Party and Supercade.
“We’re in the Meatpacking district, which is very similar to the Shoreditch area off London, which is kind of the techy, hipster, trendy, no suits kind of thing,” explained Mr. Khan. “We’re hiring quite aggressively in the company, full stop. I think we’re probably like 25, 30 people there [in New York]. There’s sales, there’s a dev team, there’s some product people there. On the Spotify jobs page, you can see all the jobs in New York, which gives you an idea of what kind of people they’re hiring.”
So how did a cutting-edge company like Spotify meet the Ur-chillaxer? “Jimmy’s people reached out to me a couple of weeks ago going, ‘Jimmy’s been playing around with Spotify and really likes it.’ I sent an email around to the staff saying any Jimmy Buffett fans in the house? Half the people were like, ‘Oh my god, do you know about Jimmy Buffett?!’ I said, shall we invite him up? He met some of the devs and they showed him some of the cool stuff that we’re working on. It was a great vibe because half the staff actually wore Hawaiian shirts the day he came in, which really made his day. He was like, ‘Wow you guys are really into what I’ve been preaching all these years.’”
Betabeat was still curious about how Jimmy Buffett had even heard of Spotify, all the way from Margaritaville. “I think one of his people in LA had been using it and said to him, ‘Hey Jimmy, you need to check this out.’ The first time you try it, you go, it can’’t be possible: How can you play music quicker on the internet than music on the hard drive? Obviously Jimmy is very savvy and business-minded and said this is where it’s headed, ‘I really want to know who uses this, what the ecosystem’s like.’ We had a great conversation. He embraces technology. He’s really into the future.”