Spotify chief Daniel Ek closed out Fortune magazine's annual technology conference, Brainstorm, today with a 25-minute Q&A called "Making Cents of Music." He was interviewed by one of the magazine's senior writers, Jessi Hempel, about what the company is focused on now that it has reached 40 million users in 57 countries.
Although the discussion didn't yield much breaking news, it revealed some of the CEO's interests going forward, namely penetrating a remaining market of one billion people who listen to music via small piracy programs and social media websites that don't require them to pay a cent. According to Ek, they are the music industry's biggest financial opportunity. Rather than pit streaming services against one another and the labels for a bigger slice of the pie, he reasoned, the goal should be to "grow the pie, it's not nearly as big as it could be."
"In Russia, the largest music site is VKontakte, the Russian Facebook," he said, noting that Korea's is also a social network. "If we can turn those people into paying customers, the music industry would thrive."