In the weeks between the Apple-Beats acquisition first being reported as being in final talks and the two companies both officially announcing the deal, Billboard interviewed Daniel Ek, the CEO and co-founder of the streaming music giant Spotify, asking about his take on Apple becoming a subscription streaming music competitor through Beats Music.

At the time, Ek was reserved in saying too much about the proposition. “I don’t like speculating about things that haven’t happened,” Ek stated. He did, however, say that he always believed Apple would enter the streaming music space and doubled down saying Spotify is focused on “building the best possible product” while noting the service’s 40 million users with 10 million paid customers.

The Spotify CEO was interviewed last week at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference and once again asked about the Apple-Beats deal, this time with the acquisition being official:

“My belief, rightly or wrongly, is I think Apple is becoming more and more of a lifestyle company, and they’re thinking a lot more about how they can become a lifestyle company,” the Spotify CEO told Fortune’s Jessi Hempel.

“So if you look at some of the executives that they’ve hired, pretty much all of them come out of the fashion… I can’t think of a consumer electronics company that’s more associated to lifestyle and fashion than Beats.”

Ek is likely referring to the several recent Apple hires including former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts now running Apple’s retail efforts, Patrick Pruniaux hired from Tag Heuer, and the many more fashion and fitness hires we’ve previously reported and profiled.

The Spotify CEO went on to address Beats Music and his take on Apple’s entry into owning a streaming music subscription service.

“My perception is although they like the streaming part, I don’t think that was primarily it,” Ek said.

“I think it was because of Jimmy and Dre and I think it was because of Apple wanting to associate itself more to a lifestyle business, and that’s where they think this is going and that Jimmy and Dre are great representatives of that.”

The Spotify CEO and co-founder went on to downplay the streaming music angle explaining what Beats Music is missing in his view.

“Being a technologist, I can tell you that the algorithm itself is not the magic sauce. It’s the data, the underlying data, and Beats had just started so they didn’t have a lot of users. There weren’t a big user base and an algorithm or data set for them to acquire and Apple has 800 million customers themselves so it’s certainly not what they’re looking for.”

Daniel Ek then wrapped up the segment coming back to his lifestyle commentary.

“My view on it is that they acquired Jimmy and they acquired Dre and they’re turning Apple in all verticals into more and more of a lifestyle business.”

Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music is expected to be gain regulatory approval by the end of September. Apple has since stated that the Beats Music subscription music service will continue to exist on Android and Windows Phone, and the Beats headphones line will be maintained as its own brand for now.

Apple’s Eddy Cue and Beats’ Jimmy Iovine have both spoken in a joint interview about the Apple-Beats deal. You can watch the full interview with Spotify’s Daniel Ek above including his commentary on Apple and Beats.

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7 Responses to “Spotify CEO: Apple becoming a lifestyle company in all verticals, Beats deal not primarily for streaming service”

  1. Tim Jr. says:

    Likely he’s right, but catching up with streaming didn’t exactly hurt Apple either.. It’s likely all the things he mentioned and more.. including the bonus of the streaming services..


    • crichton007 says:

      I agree. Apple’s comeback tagline was “Think Different” and even through they don’t use that any more they still do think different which is why they don’t try to do the same things as other consumer electronics companies and they perform better than other electronics companies as well.


  2. darrenoia says:

    Probably the smartest take I’ve seen on it yet.


  3. I’ve been using Spotify from the first months it launched in Sweden. I’m now trying Beat Music and it’s great. The curated playlists is great and Spotify offers nothing of the sort. I’m able to listen and discover much more music that I’m actually interested in than I ever was on Spotify. It’s pretty fantastic really.
    And I also love the design of their app on iOS : it’s not perfect, but it puts forward biographies, album analysis and playlist descriptions.


    • Spot on comment. My biggest gripe with any of these services is that it takes the joy out of listening to music. Everyone wants to hear ‘their jam’ and that type of listening ruins the flow and feeling of music. I’d rather let the person (or team of people) who gets paid millions to put together a great sounding album choose the flow of the music rather than some person who has severe music ADD and can’t pick songs outside of the most recent top 40.

      This is what is attractive about the beats music service. It actually puts forth great recommendations that flow together.


      • Hmm, that’s odd. I’ve been listening to Spotify for over a year as a paid user and have had no issues finding music outside the top 40. I don’t even know who’s in the top 40. Recommendations made to me by Spotify are based on music I have listened to in the past, not the people who are currently popular by mainstream standards. It’s ridiculously easy for me to find playlists of dozens to hundreds of songs I like as there are many people on Spotify with listening habits similar to mine. I don’t care if a Spotify employee or use creates a playlist, as long as it’s music I like, and the many dozens of playlists I’ve bookmarked are an indication it’s incredibly easy to find obscure music I enjoy.


      • couldn’t have said it better myself !