Zuckerberg, Parker had drunk row over Facebook, Spotify (rumor)

Summary:Rumor has it Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Napster co-founder Sean Parker got into an alcohol-fueled argument over whether Spotify users should be forced to sign up for Facebook.

Update: Sean Parker denied the allegations on multiple counts.

A few weeks ago, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Napster co-founder Sean Parker reportedly got into an alcohol-fueled argument outside a Hollywood nightclub. Parker left a $5,000 tip before they supposedly started bickering over Facebook's role in the music streaming service Spotify.

"Sean and Mark had done the big Spotify launch and headed to The Beverly to party," according to a source cited by the The New York Post. "They spent a lot of money on alcohol, and as the night went on they got into an intense discussion, which turned into a loud argument as they left. Sean argued that all Spotify users should not be forced to sign up for a Facebook account, but Mark wouldn't budge. It was a full on screaming match outside the club, but stopped short at coming to blows. They then stormed off in different directions."

"Most stories have a grain of truth," a representative for Parker told the newspaper. "They were together at The Beverly, they did discuss Spotify and Facebook, but they did not have an argument. They have spoken several times since. Sean is looking forward to seeing Mark at a wedding this weekend."

I have contacted Facebook to verify the claims of this rumor. I'll update this story if I hear back.

Parker is known for revolutionizing the music industry in the late 1990s with the P2P file sharing service Napster. Since then, the American businessman has helped build Causes and The Founders Fund, worked as Facebook's president (he owns 4 percent of the company) as well as Plaxo's president, and is now a major investor ($30 million) in Spotify.

The fact that both are music services is no coincidence: Parker wants to use Facebook to make Spotify the next Napster. Many months ago, he personally met with music industry executives and convinced Zuckerberg to partner with Spotify.

After almost a year of rumors and speculation about a service called Facebook Music, the social networking giant announced a new Timeline feature and new social apps using its Open Graph at its 2011 f8 developer conference last month. Unfortunately for Spotify, Facebook made sure its music launch was not an exclusive one: although Spotify was highlighted the most at the event, it was just one of the official 17 launch partners, a handful of which are music-specific. Hundreds more are expected to build their own more social apps.

Following f8, many users complained about Spotify's new Facebook requirement. Although the company initially defended its decision, it eventually backed down and offered a private listening option. This was followed by a bug causing Spotify users to keep sharing their music on Facebook, even if they had explicitly disconnected the social network from the music streaming service. It has since been fixed, but the damage had been done.

All in all, Spotify's Facebook tie-up has been a PR disaster for the potential Napster successor. On the other hand, the service seems to be gaining lots of users, although we're still waiting on official numbers from the company.

Update: Sean Parker denied the allegations on multiple counts.

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Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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