Last year Netflix expanded its catalog of Nordic series with ‘The Playlist’, a Swedish miniseries based on the Spotify story. An entertaining biopic that offers a diverse portrait of the megalithic streaming music company.
Daniel Ek is a technology entrepreneur with a revolutionary idea: Spotify, a free music streaming platform that it could be the solution to the crisis that the recording industry is experiencing. Together with his partner Martin Lorentzon, they will look for a way to raise the project against all the obstacles that they will find in their way.
‘La playlist’ is a six-episode miniseries that fictionalizes the origins of Spotify. It is based on the book ‘Spotify: How a Swedish startup won the battle for audio dominance over Apple, Google and Amazon’ by Jonas Leijonhufvud and Sven Carlsson.
The first episode of the series follows the same paths of the biopics on “great inventions”: a misunderstood genius with a groundbreaking idea that no one believes in and, after repeatedly being denied by large companies, he finally finds the key for someone to see the potential of his project and succeed with it.
The episodes from 2 to 5 basically They tell the same events but from the point of view of other relevant characters in the story.: Per Sundin (‘The Industry’), Petra Hansson (‘The Law’), Andreas Ehn (‘The Programmer’) and Martin Lorentzon (‘The Partner’).
So, although that first episode may give the impression of not having anything new to tell, the rest of the episodes do give nuances about what is behind the rise of a platform of this caliber, the legal battles involved and how not everyone was satisfied with how events turned out. It recounts the entire process in an entertaining way and as accessible as possible for the viewer, although this sometimes makes it a bit of a telefilm.
However, the truly interesting thing about the miniseries happens in episode 6. Without going into details so as not to spoil, let’s say that what they tell us in the previous episodes is dramatized reality and reflects on events that, although not literally, did take place. .
Well then, episode 6 jumps back in time to 2024 and offers us a hypothetical future which, however, is not at all dissonant with everything we have seen so far. The narration of this episode takes as its protagonist Bobbi T, the singer who appears from the first episode as a childhood friend of Daniel Ek.
Bobbi is a fictional character that helps us to emphasize in this last episode the bitterest side of Spotify’s success and to ask to what extent this “breakthrough” really means.
An unexpected turn towards science fiction and that shows the other side of the coin. Without a doubt, this episode stands out completely from being the complacent biopic that it seemed at the beginning and leaves the viewer with many reflections. Although it is only one episode of six and the rest may seem somewhat repetitive due to thinking about the same events.
‘The Playlist’ starts out as a conventional biopic but ends up taking a critical look at the industry. It’s true that the story could have been told with fewer episodes and at times it can’t help but be redundant, but most of the time it manages to be accessible, highly entertaining and gives us more than the idealized positive portrayal it could have been.