Spotify brought producer Quincy Jones to launch their new app featuring artist-curated playlists on Tuesday, but the music legend couldn’t resist dinging P. Diddy for being a music illiterate while touting the music technology.
“P. Diddy wouldn’t know a B-flat” if it hit him, said Jones in a conversation with musician Bruno Mars to mark the occasion of the app launch. “P. Diddy has a doctorate in marketing…. He’s got clothes companies and Ciroc vodka.” (Photo of Jones and Diddy with a Pussycat Doll)
The comment came after Jones responded to an audience question with an admonition to “learn your craft.”
The playlists launch on Wednesday.
Jones – who as one of the most respected producers of his time has worked with artists from Ray Charles to Michael Jackson –curated a playlist for the Spotify app, as has electronic DJ Tiesto, punk band Rancid and the heavy metal group Disturbed.
The digital streaming company, with 10 million active users, brought most of these musicians to the launch event on Tuesday, and they also brought a 10-year-old piano prodigy (more on that later).
The new playlists were created to respond to user demand for guidance through the 16 million songs Spotify has licensed for use from major music labels.
Spotify, a Swedish-based company, has won wide adoption by music lovers but also has broad support from artists because it sends royalties back to musicians in the age of piracy.
It was a busy day for the company; Spotify also announced on Tuesday that it had struck a deal to integrate its service with Yahoo.
At the launch event at the Andaz Hotel Tuesday, David Draiman from Disturbed said the apps were another important way Spotify supports musicians.
The playlists “allow us to market our own material and to champion baby bands,” Draiman said, adding that Spotify allows artists to claim ongoing royalties that are more valuable than the one-time, 99-cent download on iTunes.
“This is a relationship with you and the fanbase for the rest of your life,” he said. “I applaud them for trying to dissolve the piracy bug.”
Spotify, which now boasts 2.5 million paying subscribers, has paid out $180 million in royalties to musicians in the past year. Music on the service can be browsed by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist as well as by direct searches.
Other artists and music experts will be launching apps in the coming weeks and months, including Steve Aoki, and artists from the worlds of rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, and R&B, the company said.
Interviewed by Mars, Jones also said he’d spoken to Amy Winehouse shortly before she died. “Why do you keep f—-ing up your life?” he recalled telling her.
As a final treat, Jones brought the piano prodigy Emily Bear, aged 10, who delighted the audience by playing her own compositions. Jones has just produced her first CD.