Categories: News

Spotify Beta was Powered by Pirated mp3 Files

A decade ago, Spotify was hailed by many as the key mechanism for converting music pirates into legitimate customers. The music streaming service – formed in Stockholm eleven years ago – sold itself as a legal alternative to audio file-sharing. New revelations, however, suggests pirated mp3 files powered the company’s early days rather than paid-for copyrighted tracks.

The Early Days of Spotify

Daniel Ek and Marin Lorentzon founded Spotify in 2006 and Spotify’s formative first year was a difficult one. Ek and Lorentzon ran the service from Ek’s Stockholm flat. The servers in the apartment ran so hotly that the pair were in a state of undress, even in Winter.

“Spotify is a new way of enjoying music. We believe Spotify provides a viable alternative to music piracy,” the company said in 2009. “We think the way forward is to create a service better than piracy, thereby converting users into a legal, sustainable alternative which also enriches the total music experience.”

Spotify Beta released to the public in 2007. The service allowed ad-supported free music streaming. Soon after, Spotify became a freemium service, providing ad-free music streaming to subscribers.

Spotify’s Pirate History

According to Fleischer, it was pirated files supported the 2007 Spotify Beta release. Fleischer, an early member of Sweden’s Piratbyrån and The Pirate Bay, is well-placed to comment. In a forthcoming book – Spotify Teardown – Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music – Fleischer shines a light on the company‘s sordid past.

“Spotify’s beta version was originally a pirate service. It was distributing MP3 files that the employees happened to have on their hard drives,” Fleischer reveals in an interview with (translation courtesy of TorrentFreak).

“They would not have had as much attention if they had not been able to surf that wave,” he adds. The company’s early history coincides with the Pirate Party becoming a hot topic, and the trial of the Pirate Bay in the Stockholm District Court.”

For now, with an absence of hard evidence, I guess we will have to take Fleischer’s word for it!

More Revelations to Come

However, TorrentFreak is going to a new Fleischer interview soon, which promises to disclose more about the early days of Spotify. Spotify Teardown – Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music is due to be published in early 2018.

This whole story seems like something from the Napster days, where they started as pirates and ended up going legit. Due to this, Napster is nothing like it used to be, but we think Spotify will be ok.

Ashley Allen

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