Photo: Matt Rosoff Business Insider
The Web 2.0 Summit kicked off today.Mark Pincus was supposed to kick it off, but canceled on Friday. Presumably that’s because of concerns over the company’s IPO period.
Instead the irrepressible Sean Parker took the stage sporting a leather jacket and said that he’s splitting his time between Spotify and his new startup, which he confirmed is called Airtime. rumours say that Airtime will be a real-time random video chat service akin to Chatroulette, only without the obvious nudity problems that sank that service.
Cohost John Batelle asked Parker about the New York Post story that he and Zuckerberg fought about featuring Spotify on Facebook.
He called it “irrelevant and largely false” and said that the New York Post didn’t even have the dates right. But he was fascinated by the fact that the social media revolution that he helped create as an early investor in Facebook is now coming back to bite him.
Regarding Spotify, he said that it should be viewed by the music industry as a huge boon because it aids discovery at no additional cost of marketing or production. He compared it with the traditional recording music industry which involved a huge chain of people and a glacially slow release process, including the indie promoters who promoted label music to radio stations, which he called “criminals.” He also said that there’s no reason why a musician should sign to a record label unless they’re addicted to heroin and needed the big label advance.
Batelle asked him whether the same thing would happen to TV that has happened to the music industry, hinting that perhaps Airtime was related to TV. Parker shrugged and said that’s somebody else’s problem to solve, but he did say that the current way we watch TV is “so screwed up.”
So does Facebook have much information about users and too much power?
“As a Facebook shareholder, it’s a little bit tricky for me to answer that….There’s good creepy and there’s bad creepy. And today’s creepy is tomorrow’s necessity….I don’t think privacy is an issue, I don’t think that’s Facebook’s biggest problem.”
The biggest problem, he said, is the huge amount of data that’s inundating power users, who are the most important people for Facebook’s business. He pointed to the release of Smart Lists, which lets users have more control over who sees their updates.
He also said that the only way Google+ would succeed is if Facebook messes up. It’s very hard to displace an incumbent.
Ben Parr of Mashable asked about his ambiguous Wikipedia entry, which says he’s either a founder or early employee of Napster. He insisted that he was one of the three original founders: “me, Shawn Fanning, and a character named John Fanning who was Shawn’s uncle.” He “raised the first $50,000 the company used to get its service up and running,” raised its first seed round, moved the company to California, picked its CEO.
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