The Playlist Review: Swedish Series About the Inception of Spotify Hits All the Right Notes

The Playlist is a Netflix mini-series about the inception of the global music streaming platform ‘Spotify’. It is inspired by the book Spotify Untold written by Swedish authors Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud. Moreover, the series is a fictionalised version of real-life events, comprising six episodes with an average length of fifty minutes.

The cast of this Swedish series includes Edvin Endre as the genius founder Daniel Ek, Gizem Erdogan as the legal flagbearer Petra Hansson, Christian Hillborg as the Entrepreneurial mind Martin Lorentzon and Ulf Stenberg as former CEO of Universal Music Per Sundin. 

Netflix’s description reads:


– The Playlist Review Does Not Contain Spoilers –

There is something absolutely cinematic about the hustle culture of entrepreneurship and startups. Starting from the founders that fight the battle of an idea to clench the stamp of approval, followed by a deeply strained personal relationship and a set of moral compromises. In fact, the entire trajectory of events feels like an arch that involves a grand scale of character evolution.

We have seen so many different versions of this arch on screen, and almost every time, it works (with the exception of a few cliches). Perhaps, the most revered one that comes to mind is David Fincher’s The Social Network(2011). A layered genius depiction of events with Sorkin’s masterclass in screenplay writing that can be regarded as the benchmark for perfection. Now, it’s finally about time that Netflix’s new Swedish series has upheld the baton of entrepreneurial adaptation.

The series is told from six different perspectives in a total of six episodes, including the founder’s vision, the rule-makers of the industry, the legal aspects of the game, free-will coders, rhythmic partners and the often-overlooked artist. The narration is robust, grippy and as inventive as it gets.

Throughout the series, the inception of the music streaming app involves a breakthrough in terms of interface and implementation. One can argue that it definitely reflects in its stylish fourth-wall-breaking narrative style.

The Playlist
A still from the trailer of The Playlist

Every perspective has a unique trait to its character in focus. My personal favourite is the visionary (a fictional version of Daniel Ek), with noticeable flaws and a strong belief system. Even though he recognizes the loophole in the design, his will to succeed is praiseworthy.

The rest of the episodes are in continuation with transpiring events. Each of them ends with a Eureka moment and compels you to binge everything in a go. The running time also gathers some space for ideological arguments between the Artist and the Business, whereas the latter feels betrayed by the label groups and pirated websites.

The subject matter of the series is an open trap for the writers. The premise is so ambitious and grand that it is easy to run aground with the screenplay. But Sofie Forsman and Tove Forsman’s pitch-perfect execution beats all odds and offers a hyper-meticulous yet super-engaging final result.

The Playlist Final Thoughts

The Playlist
A still from the trailer of The Playlist

The Playlist is a top-notch watch that compiles all the ingredients of a perfect recipe. It has a constant running element of intrigue layered with exceptional writing. In the end, you will love all the aspects of this Swedish entrepreneur series and root for the ambitious idea to succeed. Moreover, the only negative point about this miniseries is that it ends.

You can stream all the episodes of the series on Netflix. Tell us your thoughts about it in the comment section below.


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