Netflix released a new limited series The Playlist, chronicling the early days of Spotify. The Swedish production was directed by Per-Olav Sørensen and based on Sven Carlsson’s book Spotify Untold.
Like most movies and TV shows depicting startup culture, The Playlist follows a similar playbook: under-appreciated genius finds a gap so obvious in the market that there’s no choice but to create a new company to address it; founder faces various trials and tribulations (typically legal ones) that threaten the budding enterprise; founder overcomes hardships to revolutionize an industry and change the world (at least in founder’s mind).
The Playlist certainly falls prey to many of these tropes. But what makes it different from peer biopics is that each of the six episodes are told from a different vantage point. Without knowing this ahead of time, the viewer might watch the first episode surprised at the rapidity of the pacing. Within 50 minutes, we’re left to believe that this tech juggernaut was founded with minimal effort and little backlash. That is, until the jarring ending when a character breaks the fourth wall to declare that what we’ve been watching isn’t “how it happened.”
What is The Playlist about?
We’re left startled by this revelation to know that The Playlist offers something different. The second episode tells the story through the eyes of a music executive who eventually learns not to fight back against a changing industry. Other episodes include a lawyer who crafts a strategy to appease record labels and a coder who lays the foundation for the site.
In all, The Playlist tells a story that we’ve heard over and over again, but it breaks new ground with the simple notion that this game-changing company wasn’t and couldn’t have been built by a single individual. And while Spotify certainly has its frontmen, the old guard music industry, the coders, the financiers, and the lawyers all played a part in creating this Swedish tech giant.
Check out the official synopsis for the series via Netflix:
The Playlist centers around the young Swedish tech entrepreneur, Daniel Ek, and his key partners who revolutionized a whole industry by offering free and legal streamed music around the world. It is a story about how hard convictions, unrelenting will, access and big dreams can help small players challenge the status quo by evolving the way we can all listen to music.
Watch The Playlist only on Netflix.