Spotify and piracy has always has a close relationship, with the ad-supported music streaming service setting out from the beginning to take music piracy head-on and offer a legal alternative. Now, according to a report (note: article in Swedish) by Swedish newspaper Breakit and as reported by TorrentFreak, there are more solid links between the world of Spotify and the world of piracy.
With the music streaming service about to list on the New York Stock exchange, with the company valued at more than $19 billion, one little known fact about the company was that it had once owned the darling software of pirates, uTorrent!
uTorrent is one of the most popular BitTorrent clients. The software itself is completely legal, but it's safe to say that most people who use uTorrent are using it to download pirated content. While uTorrent is now owned by BitTorrent Inc, it was once the personal project of Ludvig "Ludde" Strigeus, who also happened to be one of the early developers and part owner of Spotify.
While this is all well known, what isn't is that for a few short month, just before Strigeus joined, Spotify had purchased uTorrent from Strigeus. And only a few months later, it sold uTorrent to its current owners. Spotify's strange transaction was most likely more to do with acquiring the services of Strigeus and the technology he developed for uTorrent (P2P streaming was a large part of how Spotify delivered its music), but the tidy profit earned by buying and quickly selling uTorrent also helped Spotify in its early days when funding was tight. The reason this transaction was not well known is because, at that time, nobody had heard of a company called Spotify and so nobody thought it significant the name of the company that BitTorrent Inc purchased uTorrent from.
Spotify's piracy links also go further. Early beta versions of Spotify reportedly used pirated MP3s as part of its music library.