​Niklas Lundberg earned his Master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Chalmers University of Technology on the west coast of Sweden in 2009 and landed his dream job with Spotify just a few months later. Back then, Spotify was still a young, fast-growing startup. Now, Niklas is Spotify's Head of New Markets, overseeing expansion into new territories from their office in Manhattan, New York. Joshua Worth recently caught up with him to hear more about his experience.

The way I started at Spotify is an interesting story. Back in 2007, I was on the Berkeley exchange program at Chalmers, studying for a few months in California. A friend got early access to the music streaming service Spotify, back when it was invitation only. And even though we were on some terrible internet connection, I remember it worked so, so well—it was so smooth, instantly streaming absolutely anything. I pointed at the screen and told my friend, This is the company I want to work for. And he said, You know they’re from Stockholm, right? I couldn’t believe it!
When I got back to Sweden, I sent them an email. I didn’t want to just send a generic message, so I pitched them several potential projects that I could help with—Hi my name’s Niklas, I think your service is really inspiring—this is what I can offer you. And I got a reply.
I met them in their office in Stockholm, and they put me in touch with a few people working in Gothenburg as well. We kept in touch for a year or two—I would check in with them every few months while finishing my studies at Chalmers.
I graduated in 2009. This was right after the financial crisis, and looking back, that was really lucky for me! A lot of the big companies weren’t hiring in the same way they would usually have done. That meant I didn’t find a job for a little while. Then suddenly I heard from Spotify. There was a position available that they wanted me to interview for. Within two weeks I started working there.
At first I was a content manager, then I moved into label relationships. In 2011, Spotify launched in America and I came to New York to teach American labels about the company: pitching data and analytics to explain how streaming worked from a business perspective. And then they asked, would I be interested in moving to New York permanently? I said of course! Living in New York had always been a dream of mine. 
I moved here and started working as a business analyst, looking at how Spotify was creating value for artists, for the industry. At that time, the music industry was changing rapidly, streaming was growing. The industry had been in terrible decline before that. 
Now I am Head of New Markets. Spotify currently operates in 79 territories, but we want to be everywhere. I work with local market leads to help Spotify identify and expand into certain target locations. The process of launching in new countries is just an incredibly interesting experience. Being in the music industry has allowed me to do things I never thought I would get to do—I’ve been to the Grammy Awards several times, and to so many gigs. 


I would absolutely recommend Chalmers to potential students. I met some of my best friends there, people I know will be friends for life. Most importantly, I learned life skills. I learned how to learn. I feel like Chalmers equips you with the skills to do anything you want to do. My classmates from back then have gone on to do many different things—some to big international companies, some to smaller businesses, or to found their own startups.
Studying at Chalmers doesn’t limit you to classic, heavy engineering industries after you graduate. I would say Chalmers encourages you to think a certain way—you are taught to create opportunities for yourself.

​Niklas Lundberg

Text: Joshua Worth)

For more info on Chalmers, see Chalmers University of Technology or www.chalmers.se/masters