Why is it called Spotify?


Spotify is by far the most popular music streaming service. All of this popularity makes a seemingly coined word like “Spotify” seem like a pretty generic brand name. The real story behind this name has been hidden for a while.

A brief history of Spotify

Spotify was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in Stockholm, Sweden. Back then, file-sharing services like Napster and LimeWire were well-known ways to download music for free.

Daniel said The telegraph in 2010, “The only way to solve the problem was to create a service that was better than piracy and at the same time compensated the music industry.” That was Spotify’s goal.

Spotify opened registration in 2008, starting with the UK. It offered an ad-supported free tier and an ad-free subscription of £10 per month. Spotify was a desktop app first, but the company launched a mobile app in 2009.

After a few years of growing success in Europe, Spotify secured major recording deals to be able to launch in the United States in 2011. In 2015, Spotify had 18 million paying subscribers. In July 2022, that number was 182 million.

Spotify has not been without drama. It has always been criticized for the way it pays artists. Some big-name artists, including Taylor Swift, kept their music off the platform, though she eventually joined.

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What about this name?

Original Spotify logo.
Original Spotify logo. Spotify

For a while, the story of how the Spotify name was created was a lie. In his interview with The telegraphDaniel Ek himself explained that they “were a bit embarrassed to admit” how they came up with the name, so they said it was a conjunction of “spotting” and “identifying”.

According to Daniel, what really happened was that he and Martin Lorentzon brainstormed names together. As they shouted names across the rooms, Martin said a name Daniel misunderstood as “Spotify”.

Daniel did a Google search for the name and found no other results, meaning they could totally own it and not compete with anyone else. They registered the domain names a few minutes later. The rest is history.

In the end, the Spotify name sounds like a lot of start-up names. It was entirely invented and chosen because it looked cool and no one else was using it. There really is no “meaning” behind it, unlike other business names.

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