Episode 5 of The Playlist changes tact once more, with the spotlight shining to Martin Lorentzon and seeing his journey to the inception of Spotify. However, we don’t begin with a flashback, we’re actually skipping forward 5 years since Spotify’s launch party. Martin gives a big speech at Daniel’s wedding. He talks about how proud he is of Daniel, and how he has a giant… flashback.
Before we get the answer to what Martin tells Daniel at the wedding, we see Martin’s eccentricity through the years, proclaiming that he grew up in the “happiest generation.”
Well, that happiness does not translate well to him dancing on tables and going crazy. The Stockholm Stock Exchange are not enthused to this sort of behaviour, and as a result he’s undermined in the meeting and called a consultant rather than an integral part of the business.
Martin’s whole business ploy here is to look for people with personality. Specifically, he looks for entrepreneurs who have their own gravitas – and Daniel has that in abundance. He goes all-in with Daniel, intending to mould him into the diamond he knows he can become. Taking him to a casino and gambling away massive amounts of money, Martin uses this as a metaphor and encourages Daniel to think bigger and do something that’s globally encompassing. Something like music.
After winning big at the casino – which is a nice bit of foreshadowing – Martin agrees to put 12 million into Daniel’s account to make this a reality and create something perfect that everyone wants. Martin admits that you have to have complete faith in your partner in order to see this through to the end, even if everyone else sees it as foolhardy or crazy.
Part of building a business is growing a successful, hungry and talented team. It’s instrumental to growing and expanding. Martin knows PR is a big deal and he brings in Sophie, a Global Marketing Manager, to help with Spotify’s image. The thing is, Martin doesn’t have the money and all of this rests on Daniel’s tech making it work.
Meeting rich capitalists on the golf course, Martin uses his charisma to play these guys against each other. On reflection though, Martin tells us that he severely undervalued Spotify, and knows now that it could have been worth a lot more. But still, it works and he manages to get them a good amount of money using his “madman” trick. Off the back of this, Daniel and Martin launched Spotify in 2008 and prompted them to be well on their way.
When Martin finds out he has ADHD, it changes everything. And that is only made worse when Taylor Swift hits out against Spotify and Apple, deciding to boycott both platforms. Given she’s the biggest artist in the world, that’s bad news for the team.
Martin and Daniel meet with a guy called Stanley, who’s representing Taylor Swift. Martin reminds him how the game has changed and how prevalent piracy was originally. Unfortunately, Martin’s outburst sees Daniel forced to play damage control and speak to Stanley separately without Martin around. Given Swift is responsible for 1 in 20 streams on the platform, it’s a humbling moment for Martin who’s undermined by his partner.
We then return to the wedding, where Daniel speaks to Martin privately down by the shore after his big speech. There’s a lot of talk about the IPO and Daniel makes the tough choice to force Martin to stand down as Chairman. Martin hugs Daniel but the latter doesn’t reciprocate, eventually walking away and leaving Martin to reflect on his journey to this moment.
The penultimate episode to The Playlist jumps forward in time, as we see the inception and growth of Spotify from Martin’s point of view. Given he was a massive part of Spotify’s success and growth, it’s a bitter pill to swallow to find Martin kicked out of the company in the wake of the recent Taylor Swift issue and growth of the company.
Despite coming across as a plucky entrepreneur in episode 1, Daniel’s slowly become much more ruthless and cold as the episodes have progressed, making for a really interesting character examination.
The show has done a great job fleshing out its different characters in these stand-alone episodes and keeping the actual music artists until last is a nice way of showing the company’s success against the pros and cons of various artists on the platform. As we know, music artists are paid pennies to be on Spotify and it’ll be interesting to see how the show captures that moving forward.
Either way though, the final episode should be quite the intriguing one.