The Playlist is a docu-drama miniseries inspired by the book Spotify Untold written by Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud created for Netflix. Directed by Per-Olav Sørensen, the series tells a “fictionalized” story of the birth of the Swedish music steaming company, Spotify along with its early challenges. (Wikipedia)
The Playlist is effectively the Spotify origin story told from different perspectives. We start with co-founder Daniel Ek in the first episode and are presented with a fairly positive portrait of a young and talented tech entrepreneur inspired by the torrent site Pirate Bay, to come up with a free music streaming site. However, by the end of the episode, the story shifts and we are introduced to another key player – music executive Per Sinden – who then informs the viewer that what we had just seen is “not what happened”!
This meta approach to the miniseries employs the unreliable narrator trope but effectively reflects the inherent nature of historical events. What is the actual truth? What really happened? Can anybody truly know? It also grants the creative folks behind the miniseries a certain artistic license to tell the story as they perceive it – to sell the message they want the viewer to buy. So while the miniseries starts out with Ek and his mission to provide free music to the world, by the end that mission devolves into something altogether sinister.
By now, of course, Spotify is a household name, a global brand – yet another tech giant that needs greater scrutiny for the negative impact it has on music and musicians. The Playlist does an excellent job in helping the viewer to understand how something as improbable as Spotify managed to achieve the success it ultimately did.
The Playlist is definitely worth binge-watching. Highly recommended.
Watch The Playlist on Netflix.
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