The Playlist – Season 1 Episode 2 “The Industry“ Recap & Review

The Industry

Episode 2 of The Playlist starts with us shifting perspective and following Per Sundin during the chaos of the early 2000’s. With the music industry on its knees and the people rebelling against Per’s desire to take Pirate Bay to court, things aren’t looking good.

At the courthouse, the defence have asked for half the charges against them to be dropped, and unfortunately they’ve also gained public sympathy too. Given how expensive CDs are now, these men that own Pirate Bay present themselves as Robin Hood figures; they take music from the rich and give it to the poor.

We then jump back 3 years earlier to see Per Sundin in an even more precarious situation. CD sales are down and Per is forced to lay off staff. That’s tough to hear and their raids against Pirate Bay servers is not working. It’s like the Hydra being slayed; they get rid of one server and another 2 or 3 pop up. Unfortunately, Per Sundin learns that since the latest raid, Pirate Bay traffic has doubled.

Corporate lawyer Mats even starts downloading some music at a party, and when Per finds out this is from Pirate Bay, he makes an example of him and decides to take some of his documents. Per calls Mats out for the hypocrisy of it all, especially as he’s come out of this looking the worse for wear, forced to lay off 60 staff members recently. Unfortunately, this scene also negatively affects Per’s marriage too, with his wife humiliated and angry that Per acted the way that he did.

Per meets with Peter Sunde, the co-founder of Pirate Bay and attempts to bargain with him. Peter brings up the ideas of touring and merch, pointing out Per could make his money back that way if they just work together. That won’t fly, and Per’s meeting eventually ends fruitlessly…but not without Per doubling his efforts to take them to court over copyright infringement. Per is confident that they’re going to come out of this on top.

This brings us up to our current timeline, with Per encouraged to meet Daniel Ek but waving it away as another poor business transaction. This time we see Daniel’s confrontation outside from a new light, with Per’s anger at free music built up over time from the ongoing Pirate Bay saga.

In the car leaving the area, Per questions whether he’s getting too old for this and losing his touch. Still, he meets with Bobbi, Daniel’s old friend and the singer from the club last episode. He wants to try and sign her up to Sony music. Interestingly, Daniel shows up at the studio and this time, Per hears his pitch out… and he’s impressed. He finally gets it, likening Spotify to a digital jukebox.

Per Sundin heads off to see Mr Stringer with the Spotify concept but the big boss decides to think about it and delay until after the Pirate Bay trial. Per warns there won’t be a Sony Sweden if they continue to lay off staff at the rate that they are. They need to move now but the bosses are not budging. Per is understandably frustrated, but he finds a lifeline with an old friend called Lucian. While they try to work with Spotify, the verdict for the Pirate Bay trial goes through. The trio of creators are imprisoned for a year and found guilty.

Meanwhile, Per and the others celebrate their new deal as they’ve managed to get Spotify over the starting line after all. As the camera pans out, we see that they’re actually listening to Avicii.

The Episode Review

The second episode of The Playlist does a decent job switching perspectives and showing things from Per Sundin’s point of view. Seeing the way these timelines start to interweave and intersect is one of the best parts of this series and witnessing all the moving parts that have gone into setting up Spotify and getting around the difficulties that initially entailed, has been thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating to watch.

The pacing is just about right here too, and there’s a consistency to the tone that keeps a good amount of drama without ever falling into the realm of melodrama. If this keeps up, The Playlist could be one of the better shows to release this year.

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