The Playlist review – a fitting case study to the evolution of the music industry

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 13, 2022 (Last updated: last month)
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The Playlist is a good case study with biographical flair.

Our review of the Netflix limited series The Playlist contains no significant spoilers or plot points.

Limewire. Pirate Bay. If you are a 30-something individual, you may fondly remember the days of using torrents to download your favorite and upcoming music. You were unwillingly and unknowingly part of a revolution, secretly knowing that the chances of facing any judicial charges were low. Why? Because the whole world was doing it. It was a natural resistance to paying for overpriced CDs.

There’s no denying that Spotify was one of the early players that started a legal evolutionary change. By changing our perceptions of streaming, the music industry boomed differently. Business models slowly changed, and the rise to the top of the music charts provided a different route. While we can signal the cultural shift of entertainment via the likes of Netflix, Spotify was a critical activist in music.

The Netflix limited series The Playlist gives a true story account of how Spotify came to be, case studying different players in the market that helped contribute to its rise. Each episode is as compelling as the others. Still, praise must be nodded towards the premiere chapter, following coder (and now billionaire) Daniel Ek. This seemingly ordinary man is not deterred by making millions but is painfully bored with no purpose. The opening chapter shows Daniel realizing that money is not the intended outcome, but creating something meaningful is the cornerstone of true power. Watching a man who scratches his arse and munches on snacks while casually coding in his mother’s house late into the night is an eye-opener. Anyone can attain significant wealth.

The Playlist combines other high-profile figures that changed history—zoning in on the desperate but solution-craving musical label mogul Per Sundin. The series enjoys eccentric and bottomless cash entrepreneur and co-found of Spotify, Martin Lorentzon.

But The Playlist also reveals the legal and technical complexities Daniel Ek and his Spotify team found themselves enduring. With ambition came tight regulations and an abundance of red tape that felt like an impossible hill. The Netflix series truly encapsulates how legally privileged the music industry is and the trappings that came from daring to be innovative.

But it’s not a slap on the wrist for the music industry. If anything, the series is balanced. It makes the entrepreneurs feel as exploitative as the music executives and as aggressive as the internet’s dark underbelly. Bringing a balanced view in the story means the audience can stake their opinions on how the music industry evolved.

And that’s it in a nutshell — The Playlist is a good case study with biographical flair. It truly understands how the problem with illegal music torrents transversed into a worldwide solution. There’s always a gap in the market, and this Netflix series recognizes how it takes one average individual with a brain to conjure an idea that changes lives for better or worse.

What did you think of the Netflix limited series The Playlist? Comment below.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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