Backbeat: Sean Parker's Lavish f8 Party With Killers, Snoop Dogg, Jane's Addiction, Even Pigs on a Spit
Backbeat: Sean Parker's Lavish f8 Party With Killers, Snoop Dogg, Jane's Addiction, Even Pigs on a Spit

Sean Parker
Mark Zuckerberg, Snoop Dogg and Sean Parker in San Francisco Thursday night night (Photo: WireImage/ Kevin Mazur)

To celebrate Thursday's f8 announcement of Facebook and Spotify's partnership, Sean Parker hosted an exclusive "A Celebration of Music" that night in a San Francisco warehouse, inviting the Killers, Snoop Dogg, Jane's Addiction and Kaskade to play before an invite-only audience of a couple hundred tech and music industry insiders. The event was preceded by a press conference featuring Parker and Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek, followed by a panel discussion including Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg, Bruno Mars manager Brandon Creed, producer Ray Romulus and Kaskade.

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The exclusive party concluded a big day for Spotify, coming as it did after the Facebook developers conference f8, where founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a partnership with Spotify as well as with other music companies, including Rdio and Mog.

Zuckerberg reportedly kicked it in Snoop's trailer before the MC's set, Parker reported.

Sean Parker
Snoop Dogg and (lots of) friends (Photo: WireImage/ Kevin Mazur)

Sensing the tech royalty in the crowd, Snoop Dogg later asked which audience members would bail him out of jail if he was arrested for use of cannabis onstage. Dogg stuck to classics like "Ain't Nothing But a G Thing" "Gin And Juice" and "What's My Name" in his set.

Indeed, the contrast between the arena-sized performers and the small crowd filled with wealthy patrons made for more than one wisecrack from the stage.

"These guys are losers, but they're gonna be successful anyway, f--- 'em," Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell announced at one point in the evening. Onstage, the iconic singer of "Been Caught Stealing" asked the crowd if making money was the most important thing in life. When several cheered, he shouted "No! It's about having fun!" Then he pounded some champagne with Parker.

The Killers opened with a more subdued acoustic set that included "When We Were Young" and a special cover, presumably in ode to the city that hosted the party, of Otis Redding's classic "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay".

At 7 p.m., Parker - dressed like an indie hipster from Brooklyn in beanie and Converses moderated a short chat with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek about the future of music technology and consumption. Ek basically played the role of interviewer in much of the conversation.

Parker reiterated his belief that streaming music services like Spotify -- in which he reportedly invested almost $15 million -- represent the death of piracy, and will midwife a rebirth of music sales.

"This is actually very similar to what I dreamt of 10 years ago," Parker said, referring to Napster. "We never really wanted to create a service to destroy the record business or hurt artists in any way. The goal was really to create a more frictionless system. We really believed we would succeed in striking deals with the record labels.

"Solving the piracy problem can't happen unless you build a service that's more convenient than piracy, and in a sense Spotify actually competes with piracy."

Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell with Parker (Photo: WireImage/ Kevin Mazur)

Parker said he's optimistic Spotify's library will satisfy advanced users, and it's deal with major labels won't drown he company in royalty bills.

"It's a very deep library," Parker told Billboard.biz later in the evening. "We're the only company that's held our line and we negotiated the licenses we needed to operate as a successful service."

Ad-supported, free streaming is the gateway drug to subscriptions and purchases, and what Spotify ultimately sells is portability, and convenience, he said.

"Streams are not the model. Spotify is about trying to get you to make an investment as a consumer."

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The "Celebration" represents the party Spotify always wanted to have when it came to the States, but failed to have because of the mercurial nature of the negotiating with all four major labels, he said.

"For about two years ... we thought we were always three weeks away from closing," he told Billboard.biz.


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"We didn't have the opportunity to have the launch party that we always wanted to do, so the next logical opportunity was the launch of the integration between Facebook and Spotify."

Tighter integration with Facebook will drive Spotify's userbase and increase music discovery, said Ek. "I just think it's a natural marriage. Now everything is shared. So if you want to find out what crappy music taste I have, go ahead and just do it."

Producer Ray Romulus said the service is letting fans of "Like a G6" explore Far East Movement's whole record. "It's the sh-- to me. We can just be free and just do good music and bring back good music."

Kaskade said the mixtape-based, crate-digging culture of his youth has been reinvented online. "It's just a much easier simpler way to get my taste out there."

Rosenberg recalled trying to break Eminem by taking 12" singles to clubs in New York. Promoting new artists with Spotify in Facebook "can just go like wildfire," he said. "It's going to be wide open and a lot of that is going to be the ease of sharing amongst your friends or other people."

Farrell said the 25 year-old band started in the pre-PC era of massive record collections, when selling a million records was a career goal. With 800 million people on Facebook, he uses it to give Lollapalooza fans a way to announce their set plans.

"It kind of sucked for people like [reggae veteran] Jimmy Cliff. He's such a legend, but his demographic is so much older. There'd only be a couple thousand that registered on Facebook to see Jimmy Cliff, but the set was packed for Jimmy Cliff anyway, and it was deceptive."

Amid the opulent cocktails, sushi, lobster, crab and roast pork that had some guests whispering "tech bubble 2.0," Farrell seemed genuinely awed by what the next generation was building.

"The idea that we can now share music and even the live experience -- we never thought it would happen. Now that it's here, it's the most incredible occurrence and I'm really happy to be sharing this occurrence tonight."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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