Daniel Ek Talks Spotify's Growth at Entertainment Law Luncheon; John Branca Shares Priceless Michael Jackson Story
Daniel Ek Talks Spotify's Growth at Entertainment Law Luncheon; John Branca Shares Priceless Michael Jackson Story

(L-R)Ziffren Brittenham Partner John Branca, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek outside the Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon and Scholarship Presentation Friday. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--Backstage, before Spotify CEO Daniel Ek did a keynote interview for the entertainment legal community at the Beverly Hills Hotel today, he predicted that income from his streaming service would equal that of Apples iTunes in two years.

Billboard Power 100: Daniel Ek

Despite his many statements about his company's potential, the boyish-looking Swede has a certain nonchalance in his speaking voice that makes one wonder if he realizes how crucial Spotify could be to the music industry. It certainly was not lost on attorney John Branca, who reacted with the passion of man who has a full grasp on what's at stake -­ the ability to monetize subscription services.

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"I hope he's so successful at signing up customers that he gets there in one year," he said, his smile growing larger as he counted down more ways that Spotify could be successful.

Daniel Ek onstage being interviewed about the future of Spotify. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)

Ek was interviewed at the Grammy Foundation's 14th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon and Scholarship Presentation at the Beverly Hilton, where he explained his company's history and anticipation about its growth.

See all of our 2012 Grammys coverage right here

(L-R) Neil Portnow, John Branca and Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert pose with Branca's Service Award. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)

Among his predictions and observations:

People continue to listen to music ­ via Spotify ­ nine months after release.

Their goal is to create "the most artist-friendly tool there is" and "build tools for the industry." Soon it may be possible to track how a song grew in popularity and trace it back to the handful of people who were first on board with it.

Spotify pays 60 percent to 70 percent of its income to the music industry.

Users of social media are three times as likely to pay for a music service than non-users, which led them to partner with Facebook.

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After Ek's interview, Howard Weitzman presented Branca, a partner in the law firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP and former board chair of the MusiCares, with the 2012 Service Award.

Billboard Power 100: John Branca

Branca, speaking to a room that included his firm's lawyers, past honorees Joel Katz and Jay Cooper, and Kobalt's Willard Ahdritz, focused on being driven by passion for music. A fan of Elvis Presley, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Berry Gordy and the Beach Boys, he related two stories that greatly affected his career.

Howard Weitzman introducing Service Award winner John Branca. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)

The first came when he was a second-year lawyer and had to help the Beach Boys decide whether to retain Steve Love as their manager. Mike Love and Al Jardine were pro; Carl and Dennis Wilson were against. Brian Wilson was asked to cast the deciding vote, but was "deep in slumber with his head down on a conference table," Branca said.

He improvised, asking Brian to knock once to keep Love, two to fire him. "Lo and behold, Brian knocked three times." It became Branca's job to get Love to resign.

(L-R) Scott Goldman of the Grammy Foundation and Susan Genco of MusiCares pose with Neil Portnow. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)

And when Branca first became Michael Jackson¹s lawyer, the singer called with a request that was of utmost urgency. "I got ready ­ had my pen out and notebook out," Branca related. Jackson's request? He needed his pinball machine fixed.

Branca thanked family members and related musical and sports experiences of his youth before bringing it back to the music industry of today. In a world in which more companies attempt to bring every element of a career under a single umbrella, Branca reasoned, "lawyers remains an independent voice in the life of an artist."

Ken Abdo of Lommen Abdo speaks at the event. (Photo: Michael Underwood/PictureGroup)