Oxford University Media Society hosts Spotify VP Macro Bertozzi

Features

Image Credit: Ben Darwent

On the first Friday evening of Michaelmas term, Trinity College welcomed Marco Bertozzi, a Vice-President of Spotify Europe, as a guest speaker for the Oxford University Media Society, a new society established this April. In the words of its President, Theo Davies Lewis, the society aims to connect many areas: “Media is not just what you see in the bulletins, it’s also about investigative journalism, it’s about music, fashion.”

Marco Bertozzi started his career at Spotify two years ago. After working in media and the advertising industry for 18 years, Bertozzi’s interest shifted to creating good content utilizing data and technology, which led him to Spotify.   

Spotify celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, having drastically changed the concept of listening to music. Until then, music lovers commonly purchased CDs, or downloaded the song to MP3 players, when their favourite artists released a new music. The establishment of Spotify in 2008 has gradually effaced this increasingly antiquated method. Anyone with an Internet connection can now access the best quality music, anywhere, through Spotify, for free. 100 million users are enjoying creating and sharing playlists as part of the “free tier,” with others stumping up for the premium service.    

“There must be a way that everyone wants to listen to the music listens to the music, and in doing that, we can help millions of artists living on what they do.”

“[Daniel Ek, a Swedish founder’s] original idea of Spotify was pretty simple. There must be a way that everyone who wants to listen to the music listens to the music, and in doing that, we can help millions of artists living on what they do,” Bertozzi said. 

Despite their beneficial mission for listeners, this business faced a lot of challenges in relation to artists, especially at first. When Spotify was still small, it could not create enough profit to satisfy the artists, and the capitalization rate always came up for discussion. However, that is clearly no longer the case, with 180 million users in 65 countries benefitting from Spotify. Bertozzi is confident, recalling when Taylor Swift came off the platform four years ago. She returned last year, with Bertozzi saying she had “appreciated [Spotify’s] scale.”

“People should discover the music. And the more music people discover, the more chance that more artists are going to get found.”

Another distinctive feature differentiating Spotify from other streaming services is that it provides the new and unknown artists with a hopeful platform. 

“[Ek’s] whole premise around music was that people should discover the music. And the more music people discover, the more chance that more artists are going to get found,” Bertozzi explains. Spotify assists rookie artists in several ways. For instance, amongst the billions of new pieces of content available monthly, Spotify adds certain tracks to their playlists to make it more “discoverable.” It also gives artists useful information, like the city most streamers come from. It can even specify the most popular tracks of certain neighbourhoods within it.

Looking to the future, Bertozzi now aims for increased availability of Spotify. He expects not only the expansion of transport routes to assist this, but also greater connectivity in more devices, the so-called Web of Things, perhaps one day including self-driving cars and aeroplanes. Additionally, video clips and podcasts are now available on a trial basis, which will be potential market for expansion in the future.