Daniel Ek, Swedish entrepenuer who in 2006 co-founded Spotify, the Internet music-streaming service that provides listeners with legal, ad-supported access to millions of songs, rejecting traditional models of downloading and eliminating per-song costs.
He dropped out of college and worked for several Web-based companies before founding Advertigo, an online marketing firm that he sold in 2006 to the Swedish company Tradedoubler. He then established Spotify with Tradedoubler’s cofounder, Martin Lorentzon, and became CEO. Ek’s innovative business model for providing access to music online differed from other services in that it did not involve charging for song downloads. Spotify customers could listen to online streaming music for free if they were willing to allow display or audio advertising. For $5 or $10 a month in subscription fees, however, consumers could avoid the advertisements.
Spotify launched in 2008 and quickly became popular with both users and investors. By 2010 venture capital money was beginning to flow in to Spotify, and some analysts estimated that the service’s potential value was as much as $4 billion. In 2012 Spotify had 18 million songs and more than 20 million monthly active users, though not all were paying subscribers.
Net Worth: $ 1.6b