Streamers and TV networks seeking to replicate the success of The Social Network and HBO’s Succession are turning to biting corporate drama as their latest source of content. Apple has its WeWork series starring Jared Leto; Showtime has tapped Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the lead in its show about Uber; and Hulu recently cast Amanda Seyfried to replace Kate McKinnon as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout. Naturally, Netflix is also in the mix courtesy of its original series based on Spotify and its co-founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. Today, the streamer announced that production is underway on the “fictional” show and that it will be available globally in 2022.
It also announced the principle players in the David vs Goliath story about Spotify’s transformation from a streaming music upstart to a recording industry kingmaker. Vikings star Edvin Endre will play the company’s CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek; Ulf Stenberg (Beartown) will play former Universal Music Sweden managing director and early Spotify supporter Per Sundin; Gizem Erdogan (Love & Anarchy) will co-star as Petra Hansson, one of the architects of Spotify’s freemium business model; Joel Lützow (Gåsmamman) will play ex-Spotify CTO Andreas Ehn; and Christian Hillborg (The Last Kingdom) will appear as Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon.
There’s no word on whether Sean Parker — played by a deliciously unlikeable Justin Timberlake in The Social Network — will appear in the Netflix show. The Napster co-founder was an early investor in Spotify.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the Spotify story: A small Swedish company releases an almost-instantly popular app that lets you stream an exhaustive library of music, much to the chagrin of defensive Big Tech behemoths, record labels clinging to physical releases in the face of digital piracy and disgruntled pop stars peeved about scant royalty payments.
Netflix says its fictional series is inspired by the book ‘Spotify Untold’ by authors Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud. The biography has been described as a fast-paced tale that reads like a movie script, making it a perfect fit for a bingeable streaming show. It also goes into extreme detail about Spotify’s lengthy (and ongoing) conflict with major rival Apple, including an account from Ek claiming that Steve Jobs tried to intimidate him by calling and breathing over the phone.
Labeling the show as “fictional” could be Netflix’s attempt at avoiding another fiasco in the vein of the backlash over the fourth season of The Crown. In the UK, members of the ruling Conservative party accused the show of inaccurately representing the monarchy, even going as far as to request the streamer add a note to clarify that the series was a drama.
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