According to Spotify‘s CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek, MP3s are slowly becoming irrelevant as the world is shifting towards streaming music services. In an interview with the U.K.’s Telegraph, Ek argues that “Music needs to be like water. It needs to be ubiquitous. We need to understand that this is not about MP3 files anymore; the MP3 file has become the URL and through that unique identifier I can send you something and you’ll be able to know what it is and listen to it.”
From CD to MP3 to URL
We have been chronicling this trend towards cloud-based music services for a while now, as services like Spotify, Rdio and MOG continue to gain traction with mainstream consumers. In Ek’s vision, the era of the MP3 as the preferred medium for music could soon be over. Instead of sending your friends an MP3, Ek thinks that you’ll soon just pass Spotify URLs around. Talking about an even older technology, Ek also noted that he hasn’t bought a CD in two years.
Given that streaming music is Spotify’s main business, we can hardly expect Ek to promote anything else, but given the current trends in the online music industry, he has a point. While there will always be listeners who insist on owning their own music, the convenience of inexpensive cloud-based subscription services is a major selling point, especially for casual listeners who don’t feel the need to amass and curate a massive music library themselves.
U.S. Launch: “This Year”
Ek also reiterated that Spotify, which currently has about half a million paying subscribers, still plans to launch in the U.S. later this year. Rumors about Spotify’s impending U.S. launch have been making the rounds for months now, but Ek has always remained silent about any specific dates. We do know, however, that Spotify has already acquired server space in the U.S.