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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