Spotify investor and former Facebook President Sean Parker had some harsh words for his favorite social network: Its problem isn’t privacy, it’s that some of its most active users are leaving for other services.
“The threat to Facebook is that power users have gone to Twitter or Google+,” Parker told the Web 2.0 Summit. They are leaving, he says, because Facebook isn’t giving them enough ways to manage a glut of information.
Parker also defended Spotify’s decision to integrate the music service with Facebook, requiring users to sign up with a Facebook account. “It gives Spotify access to Facebook’s roughly 800 million users,” he said in an interview with Federated Media’s John Battelle.
Battelle continued on the Facebook line, asking Parker what he thinks of the argument that Facebook is perceived as being a “little creepy.” After attempting to dodge the question — and pointing out that he is a major Facebook shareholder — Parker offered this immortal answer. “Look: There’s good creepy and there’s bad creepy,” he said. “Today’s creepy is tomorrow’s necessity.”
Parker also had some harsh words for the record labels, arguing that bands can simply bypass them. “You can now be a master of your own destiny,” he said. “I’m not sure why you would sign up with a record label.”
Unless they desperately need an advance, Parker believes, bands are better off on their own. He apologized to his friends in the recording industry but offered the slow-to-grow success of indie band Foster The People as a prime example.
Parker’s argument: The digital revolution has removed barriers to sharing music. It doesn’t cost extra to create another copy of a song anymore and it’s easier than ever to get recommendations for music from friends. The result is that labels are lagging behind because they have layers of bureaucracy and protocols they no longer need. Bands are responding by using other distribution mediums (such as Spotify) in order to take charge of their own destinies.
Finally, Parker attempted to clarify the controversy over whether he was a co-founder of Napster or just an early employee. “I was a co-founder,” he said in a response to a question from Mashable. He explained that he was one of three people with founding shares when the company was first incorporated.