clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Full video and transcript: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek at Code 2018

“We didn’t want to get into a position about talking about who gets to do exactly what or what the situation is on Spotify.”

Peter Kafka: You know when you’re telling the story of how Dara got his job, you’re sort of the key player in it?

Kara Swisher: No.

Peter Kafka: Kind of one of them, right?

Kara Swisher: No. I just knew before he did. That’s all.

Peter Kafka: You know who else knew? Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify. We’re going to talk about half an hour how he got Dara the job?

Kara Swisher: No. We’re going to talk about Spotify.

Peter Kafka: He took his company public. This is his first interview since he took his company public. This is a company that everyone thought would not work and apparently it’s working. Let’s talk to him about that. Come on up, Daniel.

Normally when we bring up a publicly traded media company CEO we talk to him on the stage about Roseanne Barr.

Daniel Ek: Right.

Peter Kafka: Mix things up, let’s talk about R. Kelly.


Peter Kafka: Kara, do you know who R. Kelly is?

Kara Swisher: I do, I actually do.

Peter Kafka: What’s your favorite R. Kelly song?

Kara Swisher: I don’t know.

Peter Kafka: Recently you guys said … It wasn’t an R. Kelly ban, but you said there’s a bunch of artists that we don’t like because of their personal behavior. We don’t want to promote them. R. Kelly was one of them. There’s a rapper whose name I cannot pronounce. I’m not going to try to. There’s a lot of fear about that. You recently changed those decisions. Can you explain why you made the first decision and why you made the second decision?

Sure. Well, if you just take two steps back and look at what it is we try to accomplish, I think we are now at a point where we’re obviously a material part of the music industry. We’ve got three million artists on the platform. We have 170 million consumers using this. As a platform, one of the key things that we believe in is just being transparent. I think it’s something that more and more platforms are raking up about and thinking a lot more about.

Peter Kafka: And talking about that?

Yeah. What we really just wanted to do was just be transparent about it. There’s two pieces specifically that we allow. One was about hate speech. I think that’s less controversial. And then there’s the other one about conduct. I think just being very honest we were very vague and we are just ...

Peter Kafka: Just to be clear, you said you’re not banning people from being on Spotify, right?


Peter Kafka: Could it be a Nazi or someone who abuses women and be on Spotify?

Well, again ...

Peter Kafka: Or both.

Yeah … Probably not so much. Well, again, the whole goal with this was just to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech on that service. It was never about punishing one individual artist or even naming one individual artist as well. I think … Coming back to it, it’s really my responsibility as a leader. I think we ruled this out wrong and we could have done a much better job.

Kara Swisher: Wrong how? Wrong in that ...

Well, I just think we could have handled the communication. There’s too much ambiguity in terms of how people interpreted this. As you said, people thought that they couldn’t be on the service, which of course was not the intent.

Peter Kafka: I liked it when I first heard about it. I know labels are all complaining, and how do you figure out if this abusive person can be on or this one, but I liked it in contrast to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and platforms Kara and I spend a lot of time talking to, and they would shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey, what are you going to do?” You guys said, “Hey, we actually want to make a decision.” It seems like you backtracked a bit.

Well, again, I think the key point here is what we were trying to go after is just really around hate speech. It wasn’t to go after being moral police about who did right, who did wrong. You get into really tricky things such as has this person actually been charged with something, have they actually been convicted of something, etc. That was never the goal. We are a platform where we want art, we want to express a lot of diverse opinions. We don’t want to be the judge and the moral police of that.

Kara Swisher: Let’s talk about that just a little bit, then we’ll get into business. What’s wrong with values? I don’t quite … I have a lot of arguments talking to other people. The reason you have values is you have to make decisions about things and you have to make choices and you have to piss people off and make statements of values. What is that intent, that values are such a problem that they don’t want to state them which they have, by the way?

Well, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having values. I also think being a platform from being an editorial-driven service is something totally different. I think in our case, the reality is, as I said, we have three million artists. What we wanted to be was just transparent. We didn’t want to get into a position about talking about who gets to do exactly what or what the situation is on Spotify. There are certain things which I think the rules should be pretty clear about. There should be … If you are talking about being KKK and doing that kind of stuff, I think it’s pretty obvious that we don’t want you on the service.

Peter Kafka: Was this something that you were pushing for or did it come up from your organization?

It was a debate that we had internally at the company. It’s something that we keep on discussing. Again, one of the core values of the company is just being transparent and driving that agenda. Another core value that we have is to iterate as we get feedback. This has been one of those things where we got a lot of feedback from a lot of different advocacy groups about us being vague. We’re clearly listening to people and taking that input.

Peter Kafka: Do you think you’re different than Silicon Valley companies? You started a company in Sweden, moved to London. In the U.S. your big office is New York, not California. Do you think that you operate the company differently than an American tech company?

I think so, but I think that’s just natural based on the environment we are in. Being Swedish myself and starting the company in Sweden, that’s just a very different society than you have here in the U.S. Obviously that’s been impacting us a great deal.

Peter Kafka: How so?

Well, just take something like parental leave. One of the things that we realized as we started hiring more and more people here in the U.S. was that I think it was like two or three weeks if you were a parent that you could take off. We saw our employees in Sweden could take six to 12 months off. That just didn’t make any sense why that should be different. We rolled out a global parental leave policy throughout the company where now everyone has six months of paid leave. Those types of values for us is really important. That’s something that obviously comes from being from Sweden.

Kara Swisher: Yeah. Well, Sweden is better, obviously better. Let’s talk about the business, about what you’re doing. Since you went public a lot of people, as Peter said, didn’t think this was going to happen that your business was impossible. I’ve talked to so many, some of them ... they cant … people that considered buying you, people that considered … Lots of people considered buying you. They are like, “We can’t make money at this.” Talk a little bit about the public [offering] and how you thought about that.

Well, going public in and of itself was never a milestone for us, honestly. I know that that might be a milestone for some companies, but I’ve always just thought about our mission. Our mission has been from the beginning to try to build a service that consumers love, where we can get them to experience and enjoy more music than they ever had before and at the same time compensating artists for that. Honestly, it’s just been what we’ve been doing now for more than 10 years and we’ll keep on building every day.

Peter Kafka: Still losing money, right? You’ve lost money your entire time you’ve been running?

We’re a public company now, so that’s ...

Peter Kafka: It’s been out there for a while, and you’ve had this difficult model where most of the money you bring in has to go back out to the rights holders. That’s good for them, makes it very hard to see how you are going to eventually make a profit. I’ve talked to you in the past. You said, “Well, if we stopped growing, we’d be profitable.” Is that still the case? If you stopped marketing and stopped trying to grow the business?

Yeah, very much so. I also think … I look at the business maybe from a slightly different perspective in the sense that I think about our cash flow as one of the primary metrics. We’ve been cash flow positive for a bunch of quarters. As long as that’s the case, we don’t have to go back to the markets and ask them to keep funding the companies. That’s been a very important metric of mine. As long as we’ve been having that … breakeven on the cash flow basis or a positive cash flow, we obviously ... since we believe that this is the early inning still of the music streaming market, I want to keep on growing and investing in wealth.

Peter Kafka: Talk about your relationships with the labels. When you started off, they had all the power. You couldn’t run the service without getting them to license. You had to give them all your money, basically. You’re still giving them most of your money. Now, they really need you because you’re writing them really big checks every year. It strikes me there’s a fundamental tension between where you guys want to go ultimately, which is having more and more control of the music business, more power, maybe working with musicians directly and what happens to them. It seems the more you grow, the more difficult it’s going to be for them. They’re fully aware of that. How are you guys working out that dynamic?

I think that’s true in almost any supplier-retailer dynamic, right. You’re always ...

Peter Kafka: There’s three of them. It’s tense, right?

Sure. That’s one way of looking at it, but we have over 20,000 partners in total on the record label side, just mentioning even the top record labels. There’s way more than three, even though there’s three big ones.

Peter Kafka: There’s three that you stream 87 percent of whatever your number is in the filings. Most of your business comes from ...

Most of it, yeah for sure. Obviously it’s important, but Procter & Gamble and Unilever are very important for Walmart and other retail businesses as well. I don’t think that’s in and of of itself a unique phenomenon. I think the most important thing, though, is I don’t view us winning being equivalent to them losing. I actually think that when I look at the music industry — and one of the things that I talked about during our investor day — is how exciting it is for us now to focus on the other side of the marketplace as well. I still think that there’s a huge amount of inefficiencies as you think about how hard it is today for an artist to break through.

We sit there and we have this audience of 170 million people and the No. 1 thing that they ask us for is, “Help us find more great content.” The No. 1 thing artists are asking us for is obviously, “Help me find an audience.” We view it that we can play a really important role in connecting the two, and in doing so and creating more and more tools for labels and artists, and managers to work with these tools, I think we can create even more interesting business opportunities, which makes their marketing budgets more efficient, and that is a ...

Kara Swisher: Do you see that more as a Netflix model? It’s almost like, do you see yourself becoming that? Like creating shows or creating artists or?

Peter Kafka: No.

Kara Swisher: Like creating shows, or creating artists, or …

No, well ... I mean, it’s a popular comparison that people like to make, because we are both subscription media companies.

And there are a lot of similarities, but I think fundamentally when you just view the fact that we have 30 million pieces of content and we have 30,000 new pieces of contents that’s being uploaded every single day, and we have three million creators ... it’s a very different platform than Netflix.

Peter Kafka: But you’re saying to artist, “Hey, we can help you find this audience. And by the way, we own this audience now anyway. We have 70 million paid subscribers.”


Peter Kafka: “We’re going to bring you to those people, we’re essentially becoming radio. A really big part of the traditional music label’s job is, “We’re going to bring your music. We’re going to write your check, but then really what we’re going to do is find you people, we’re going to get you on radio, we’re going to put you in stores.” And it seems like what you’re doing long term is taking a lot of those jobs that a record label used to do, taking on yourself. And if you’re an artist, you’re going to have to think more and more about why you’re signing up with a label, instead of just working with you guys directly.

Well, I think that’s the bird’s-eye view of what a label is. I think the reality, as with many businesses, like the best labels that I see are service businesses. They partner very, very deeply with artists. They’re around, they help with A&R, they put them together with the great producers. It’s more than just the actual marketing piece of it. It’s about booking shows, it’s about the right collaborations.

There are so many aspects of making it in an artist today. I don’t think any of that goes away. I think that there’s certain elements that we can bring, efficiency, and use the things that’s honestly been around on the internet for a decade-plus in terms of tools and data and knowledge, and bring that to the music industry. And make being a label more efficient, and make being an artist more efficient. And I like to think that the way that’s going to be played out is that there’s a bigger opportunity for us to grow our pie, obviously. And I think labels in and of itself can operate more efficiently, which means that they should be able to also in the end increase what we pay out to artists.

Kara Swisher: I want to talk about adjacent businesses that you’re looking into. But first, your competitors. Right now, it’s got to be Apple, correct?

Well, I mean there’s a bunch of people in music that’s competing.

Kara Swisher: Right.

We got YouTube, we got Apple, we got Amazon, we got all of the big ones in this space. And for me, that’s not strange. There’s very, very few opportunities that a billion-plus people around the world care deeply about. Music is one of those things. So naturally, all the big platform companies are going to be interested in this space. So yeah, we compete with a lot of them.

Kara Swisher: Who do you think about the most of those that you look at?

Honestly, I don’t focus as much. I think this is like one of those things, well surely, you must think about it. I get the question a lot from people externally. But you’d be surprised if you sat in on our management meetings or sat in on the company, how little we actually talk about competition. Most of the time, what we talk about is what we’re seeing in the market, what we’re seeing in terms of what our customers are telling us, what we’re seeing in terms of what artists are telling us. And frankly, they don’t talk that much about competition.

Peter Kafka: There’s competition, and there’s also competition that owns the hardware that you need to be on for it to work, and you’ve fought with Apple in the past back and forth ... It seems like you guys have reached a détente, but I think it’s really amazing that either you are able to fight your way in the position you’re in, or they let you do it willingly or unwillingly ... I mean, how did you think about that when you were starting out? Were you at zero and you were trying to get on the iPhone and Apple wasn’t really excited about that? You had to sort of force your way into that platform?

I don’t know whether we had to force our way into the platform, but I think at the end of it, we’ve always tried to do what’s right for customers, and we’ll always try to be at the forefront of that. So we’ve been trying to innovate, and luckily enough, we were in a position where the App Store came along, and we took advantage of that, and was one of the earliest apps on the App platform.

Peter Kafka: There’s a big boom in the home speaker market, right? Amazon primarily, Google, Apple trying to catch up. What kind of usage are you seeing from connected home speakers?

It’s growing. It’s still not as big as we in the tech circles seem to make it.

Peter Kafka: Mobile’s your dominant thing, right?

Mobile is certainly a super platform compared to everything else. But it’s super exciting. And I mean, this is a space where honestly, if you looked at the home, besides Sonos, there wasn’t really a lot of innovation in this space. And now there’s kind of renewed interest in the home, in speakers, in getting people ... And people are going out in droves and buying these devices, which is really phenomenal. And I think once it starts permutating for real, it just adds another moment in which people will listen to even more music than they are already.

Kara Swisher: Let’s talk about adjacent businesses. Video. What are you doing in that area right now? How do you look at it? Because you’ve added podcasts, you’ve added other things.

Well, the primary video offering that we have today, is we have our flagship brands like RapCaviar ... Viva Latino! is an example there. And one of the things that our label partners and creators asked us to do was simply just say, “Hey, can we do more storytelling on your platform? And can we do what we do on some of the other platforms? Put our music videos?” So what we started doing was developing videos that we thought would fit our platform. And now we’ve started opening that up wider, so that more and more creators can actually post videos onto the platform as well. And that’s been growing pretty nicely for us.

Peter Kafka: That’s a later version of it, because ... at one point, you guys were talking to people about actually doing your own OTT service. A few years ago, you said, “we’re going to do short form videos and stuff from Comedy Central.


Peter Kafka: You’re really good at audio, why do you keep playing with video? What’s the advantage for you?

Well, so here’s how I think about it. I mean, internet is an audiovisual interactive medium. So to not use all of the properties of the medium just doesn’t make sense to me. Now what we have to do is we have to try to get it right for our platform and for what consumers want. I do think over time, video will be a more important part of our platform than maybe what it is today. But we are a company that try a lot of things. So we try to tend to — unlike many others — try to do quite ambitious things, even at the beginning, and then maybe scale back and then kind of roll out an integration of that. And we went in video way too fast, way too early. What we instead kind of went back to was to go to our roots, which is music, do that really well, going from that base.

But I don’t think you should think about us as primarily a video platform or that’s where our interest is. We’re primarily an audio platform, and what excites me about being that, is just if you think about the world right now, it seems like everyone is competing over the attention of video. And obviously it is for the obvious reason that it’s a trillion dollar market, and it’s four hours of people’s time per day.

So it’s a pretty massive opportunity. But what I think people got wrong about the space we’re in is that at a very, very basic sense, if people are competing for your eyes, what we’re competing about is your ears. It’s a different sense. It’s three hours of people’s day. Right now, depending on how you view that space, if you would factor in the music industry, and you factor in the radio industry, it’s a hundred billion dollar industry. And the question then you can ask yourself, is your eyes worth 10 times more than your ears? I don’t think so. So I actually think that’s a space that will grow.

Kara Swisher: If you’re ... wait, is your eyes worth 10 times more?

Yeah. Well, that’s what the market is right now, right? It’s a trillion dollar market, versus the ears that’s worth maybe a hundred million.

Peter Kafka: Podcasts are undervalued.

Kara Swisher: I see that. Okay, good. I like where you’re going. All right, so talk about that, the getting into podcasts and other audio.

Yeah, well, this is the amazing thing about being a platform. We honestly put out this platform with the intent of music, and what ends up happening is, most of it of course is music, but people tend to upload other things. So what started happening is we started getting more and more podcasts on the platform. And then we started getting customers complaining why our podcast app didn’t work as well as other podcast apps worked. So we looked at that, and we started fixing some very basic things like getting the audio up in time, making sure that you can actually get notified when there’s a new episode. Some pretty basic stuff. And people got very excited and started spending a lot more time. So then more people started uploading podcasts. And full circle; now probably six, seven months later, as we’re doing that, and it’s growing like crazy. And we’re finding ourself in more and more of these conversations and realizing that actually, you know what? A lot of the problems that we solved for the music industry, like monetization, like data, like all of these things ... it’s essentially the same building blocks that we’ve already been building. And that’s super exciting to us.

Kara Swisher: And how big a basis do you imagine it to be?

I don’t know, and I think it’s really early on, but as I said before, the whole space in and of itself is at least a hundred billion dollar opportunity. Probably a lot more than that.

Peter Kafka: You’d have a billion of that?

Kara Swisher: That would be fine with me. But it’s interesting how people ... because Apple really just dominates completely, almost completely. From our perspective, at least.

It’s big, but it’s also the platform ... I mean, that’s been around since the inception of the word, even.

Kara Swisher: Yeah.

So I mean, they innovated, they created the category, but not much has happened to the media over the last 15 years. And that’s the exciting thing for us.

Peter Kafka: Kara’s asking about adjacent businesses. Periodically, there’s reports that you guys are looking at hardware. Do you want to build your own devices, and what kind of devices are you looking at?

Right, well, we are a platform company. And what we want to do is as simple as connecting our artists with fans. Now, every now and then, we do innovate and we do experiment on it. Where you’re probably referring to is in the car space. But even in-home it’s ... in and of itself, we actually do already create hardware. This is a little-known fact that most people don’t know about it, because the way we did most of our early partnerships, and how we got into most of these devices, it turned out that the easiest way to start getting our software in there ended up being actually producing the chipset itself. So we’ve actually been doing that for probably well over seven years.

Peter Kafka: Your chipset on people’s devices.


Peter Kafka: And then the car product you’re talking about is what?

Well again, the way we work with cars as an example is, it’s a three-pronged strategy. The first one is to support Bluetooth, which is pretty straightforward. We have tens of millions of people listening to Spotify in their cars. The other one is through your phone tether. Find the cards, the other one is through your phone tethering. That’s Android Auto and Apple Carplay where we’re part of both of those platforms. And then the third one is direct integration with ...

Kara Swisher: Car manufacturers.

Car manufacturers. And that’s the third part of where we also do very integrated stuff.

Kara Swisher: Those are all chip and software. Do you, what he’s talking about, would you make a device? Because Amazon’s a platform company, Google’s a platform company. They all have ... Apple’s, well, Apple’s a device company.

Peter Kafka: Facebook’s making their own devices.

Kara Swisher: Facebook’s making their own devices.

Sure. Well, I don’t rule it out. But I think the most important part, it’s not our business. Our business is in creating a service in which we get consumers upon, and we make money either through advertising or subscription. If we do things, it is to enable that service. It isn’t to be in the hardware [business] selling these things.

Kara Swisher: Last question I have and then we’ll get to questions from the audience. How is it being a public company CEO? What have you been surprised by?

Well, I think the biggest surprise was probably when we did our first-quarter announcement. We went out with guidance and I felt pretty good about it, having set the guidance 10 days before the quarter closed, that we would hit the numbers. And we did. But we got penalized for it. And I think the guess from people was obviously that, hey, they should beat the expectation.

Peter Kafka: They thought you were low-balling it?

Yeah. Exactly.

Peter Kafka: Which, you’ve got a guy who used to be the CFO for Netflix. Didn’t he tell you, “Hey, they’re gonna expect this”? Or did he think the same thing?

No, I think we both kind of thought that, sure, analysts will make up their own assumptions, but at the end of the day, one of the things that was really important to us coming back to this value about transparency, was, you can ask a public company ... I had to do what a lot of — especially tech companies — do, don’t issue any guidance and let the people figure it out themselves. But we wanted to be transparent about what we thought about the business. And we also said very early on that our goal was to do exactly what we said we were gonna do. Not more, not less.

Kara Swisher: Yeah, that’s your mistake. But go ahead.

Peter Kafka: Before we ... before we go to that, on the IPO thing, you did this novel IPO, it’s not really an IPO, a direct listing. You didn’t exactly cut the banks out, but you really didn’t use them in a traditional way. You did a thing that most, really, no one’s done before. It worked. But there was a lot of risk in it and it would have been easier just to do the traditional banking thing. Why go through that effort, go through that uncertainty, to do this direct listing?

Well, there was really three parts that made me go in that direction. And obviously, I had a tremendous amount of help from Barry as well in doing that, which is my CFO. But one was about transparency. Just one thing about the traditional process, which was done in the 1970s, is obviously the world has changed a lot. But it just didn’t sit well with me to put out this document in this day in an era when information is like this. And you can’t comment on it, you can’t say anything about it, until the moment where you kind of ring the bell and go public. So I wanted to see if there was a way to push more transparency’s so that we could actually be open and could tell a story much differently.

The second thing was, when you really think about it, the whole process obviously openly supposed to be so that everyone has the same amount of information. Yeah, what actually happens in practice, you do this quiet road show and give some people a little bit more information and then you kind of open the door saying you hope that those people will then hold your stock. And I didn’t want to do that. I wanted everyone to have exactly the same information.

And then thirdly, more importantly, as part of this, I didn’t want to put anyone in a different boat. So most often, what happens is that the investors gets to sell early on. The employees do not. I did not want that at all. I wanted everyone to have the same opportunity to sell or buy the way they want.

And those were the three sort of key reasons why we picked the path we did. And sure, it was a risk in the sense that it was different, but we had a lot of data and we had a pretty strong indication where it was going. And overall, I would say, even if it would have been more volatile in the beginning, I don’t think that would have changed our decision. We’re trying to build something where we care about where the value will go long term, not what the stock will trade at.

Peter Kafka: Very Swedish of you.

Kara Swisher: Yes, very Swedish.

Peter Kafka: Stubborn and Swedish.

Kara Swisher: Yeah. All right. Questions from the audience? Ms. Rosen.

Hilary Rosen: Hi, Daniel. Hilary Rosen. I couldn’t let this go, when you said that you originally created your policy after the R. Kelly issue as an anti-hate speech policy. In fact, didn’t Spotify say that you were going to not promote R. Kelly on the platform after several well-researched reporting, most recently in the Washington Post, around him being a sexual predator. Harvey Weinstein was never convicted, Brett Ratner was never convicted, the head of Sofi, who’s been fired, multiple people fired from Uber. A lot of people have faced consequences for their sexual assault behavior. But R. Kelly isn’t, because the music industry has been a cloak of darkness here. So I’m wondering, I love Spotify, and when you did that, you continued Spotify being ahead of the industry. Being a little bit of an outsider, so the people would think you’d act differently. And I’m wondering if, now that you backtracked on that, whether you’re worried you’ve lost that moral authority?

Peter Kafka: That’s a good question.

Kara Swisher: Good question, Hilary Rosen. She used to work for the record industry.

Right, right. Well, I mean, that’s obviously for other people to judge at the end of the day. I do think, as I said, the spirit with our original policy wasn’t about penalizing one individual artist. In fact, in our blog post, we didn’t mention any one single individual artist either. We spoke about this from a stand point about what kind of content will we have on our platform, not set out to make an example of one individual artist in this case.

Kara Swisher: Oh, up here.

Greg Lawrence: My question will be a lot easier than that. Daniel, my name’s Greg Lawrence. I’m co-founder and CEO of Podium Publishing, your digital audiobook publisher. It seems like audiobooks on your platform is a little bit, has been a bit of an unofficial thing. I’m wondering if you see much of a future for it on your platform?

Well again, and this is the amazing thing about having this platform, it’s getting used in all of these unintended consequences. Our primary focus, of course, is music. We’re now founding more and more podcasts creators on the platform. Once the audiobook category starts growing, I’m sure we’ll start investing in making that an even better experience as well.

Greg Lawrence: Yeah, Apple’s in the space now and so they’re making a big move there. But yeah.

Kara Swisher: Audible, obviously.

Dylan Byers: Hi. Dylan Byers with CNN Pacific. I want to talk about the long-term future of your company. It seems to me like your biggest competitors are three out of the four biggest market-cap companies in the world. And you offer a product which is not necessarily offering different content than what they’re offering, aside from perhaps the aesthetics or the user interface. But fundamentally, the content you’re offering is the same, which ... you’re very much not like Netflix. You don’t have a mobile phone, you don’t have home devices. So in the long term, what is to stop Apple, Amazon, Google from basically pushing you out of the market by virtue of the fact that they can bring this music to scale to more people, because they invite people to live in a universe, whether that’s an Amazon Prime universe or an Apple universe?

Well, I think when you look at that, about the competitive set that we have, I think you could almost universally say that’s true about all internet companies. Those are exactly the same companies that they’re competing against, so I don’t think that’s a particular thing that’s unique to Spotify. The way we think about it, though, is one of the real important things is that it remains ... that these platforms remain open. And so we talk a lot about how we extend the debate from net neutrality to being platform neutrality as well. What we find is that when we compete on equal terms with all of these companies, we tend to do pretty well. So that’s our focus, is keeping this platform open because we think it’s in the interest of customers and obviously we know that we do well when that’s the case.

Peter Kafka: Andrew, real quick.

Kara Swisher: Real quick last question.

Andy Wallenstein: Hi. Andy Wallenstein with Variety. Daniel, just to go back to the policy quickly. Is it in place right now? Can you clarify the status? Is it amended in any way? Just want to understand.

Daniel Ek: No, not at all. I mean, again, what I want to be clear about is I think we screwed up how we rolled this out. We’re now taking feedback. We got a lot of comments from a lot of different groups. We’re taking feedback, we’re iterating on the ad, just like we would anything else. And that comes back to the kind of company we are as well. We do things, we take the feedback from the market and ...

Andy Wallenstein: But is the policy still in place?

The policy is out there. It’s out there on our website. You can read it.

Andy Wallenstein: Okay.

Kara Swisher: Get him off the platform. I’m sorry. If I were in your company, I’d take him right off. But that’s different. I don’t run your company. So there you go.

Peter Kafka: Kara gets the last word. Daniel, thank you so much for coming.

Thank you so much.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.