Daniel Ek grew up a pirate. He was a young computing whiz who, like many Swedes of his generation, set his talents to swapping free files, music, and movies on the Internet—much to the entertainment industry’s chagrin. Then, in 2006, Ek did the totally unexpected. He united the music labels behind Spotify—a service that made it dead simple for anyone to stream music and for artists and labels to get paid.
In this episode of Hello World, Ek dives into his journey from geeky bad boy to the music industry’s possible savior. He takes our host Ashlee Vance to breakfast and explains how Swedes mastered the art of making beautiful, fun consumer tech hits, and then delves into the repercussions that a batch of Swedish tech millionaires have had on the country’s culture.