Enter Sandman

Spotify Debuts New Discovery Features, Best Friendship of Sean Parker and Lars Ulrich

Copacetic! (Photo: Spotify)

Today, at a press conference that culminated in a Frank Ocean performance and an unexpected onstage love-in by Sean Parker and Lars Ulrich, Spotify debuted a number of new features, revolving around discovery.

CEO Daniel Ek entered to “Rock the Casbah,” the Clash bouncing off the exposed brick walls. Despite it not even being noon, several attendees already had beers in their hands.

“At Spotify, we think of ourselves as punks, the type that are against the establishment,” Mr. Ek informed the crowd. “We’re really punks because we’re restless and we really hate it when people tell us this is just the way it is.” Read More

fundraising

Spot Off or Spot On? Spotify Said to Miss Valuation Goal, but Still Plenty Pricey

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When Spotify landed in the competitive U.S. digital music marketplace last summer, it was boosted by a cresting wave of good publicity, strong track record in Europe and a $100 million investment funding round that valued the company at $1 billion.

That wasn’t all: Given the strong demand for Pandora and LinkedIn IPOs (and even stronger anticipation for the eventual Facebook offering), Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s timing for a U.S. launch seemed spot on.

Well, things have changed: Share prices for high profile tech IPOs such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon have tanked, and as Spotify readies to close its latest round of fund-raising, the company looks likely to fall short of its goal. Instead of the $4 billion valuation that Spotify initially sought, the company will likely settle for something “slightly more than $3 billion,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week (Ingenuity, Capital OnStage, Red Innova, PandoMonthly w Daniel Ek of Spotify, Hack ‘n Jill, EcoHack)

sponsor_garys_red_tie

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.

The lights are back on in Lower Manhattan, the subways are up and running again (well, most of them) and things are slowly returning to normal in the city. But in Staten Island, the Rockaways, Red Hook, Hoboken, Breezy Point, Long Beach, Seaside Heights and other coastal areas that bore the brunt of Sandy, there’s a ton of recovery work still to be done. People are cold, hungry and tired and devastated communities are gravely in need of our help. If you want to donate cash or goods or volunteer your time, go check out our updated Hurricane Sandy Relief: Volunteering and Donations Guide to see how you can help.

For those of you frustrated from not hearing back from volunteering organizations, I’d recommend just getting a van and a bunch of friends together and driving out to one of the affected areas and start helping. You can take much-needed supplies like food, blankets, flashlights, batteries, diapers, jackets, etc. Volunteers are desperately needed on the ground to distribute supplies and help clean up, and this will be even more true during the coming days, as many folks go back to work. Remember, there may be another storm coming on Wednesday, so the next couple of days are critical.

It’s been really heartening to see everybody come together and pitch in and help out over the last few days, so let’s keep this trend going. Makes me proud to be a New Yorker! Read More

Streaming

Did Spotify’s New York Team Just Build a Radio App That Could Kill Pandora?

On stage at LeWeb in Paris, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent a tremor that we imagine reached all the way back at Pandora headquarters in Oakland. TechCrunch Alexia Tsotsis reports that Mr. Ek “innocuously” introduced a radio app, built on the company’s recently released app platform by Spotify’s dev team in New York.

His pitch: “It’s kind of like Pandora with unlimited skipping and unlimited stations.”

Except for the fact that Pandora has a mobile version, and Spotify’s app is still confined to the web (for now), it’s hard to imagine that Pandora, which caps users to 100 stations and eight song skips, isn’t feeling threatened. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Jimmy Buffett Stopped by Spotify’s Offices in the Meatpacking District to Meet Some Devs

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“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. Read More