Spotify has easily become one of the most popular streaming music services on the planet. Next to iTunes, it might be the single most well-known force in the music industry. However, many fired back at the company citing that they do not pay artists sufficiently for the content they provide to the music streaming service. Taylor Swift was largely applauded for her outspoken position on the issue that has been chattered about for some time. She even went as far as to call streaming services the same as illegal downloads – in terms of how much money is lost when the process takes place, even for those users who pay for services like Spotify.
However, Spotify was not going to take Swift’s criticism without a fight, and they brought a boatload of data to the table to show what they are doing for musicians. CEO Daniel Ek has some select remarks about the narrative that has surrounded the company. He said in a blog post, “Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it.” He went on to say “So all of the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time.”
He noted that top artists like Swift are on pace to make $6 million a year in royalties. Artists like Swift, who are the top tier, and mainstream acts, are the ones who make the most money but that the company as a whole has doled out royalty payments to the tune of $2 billion. Even more impressive is the fact that the company says in the last year alone, half of that has gone to artists in that time period. 12.5 million Spotify users pay for the premium service, and in all the company has more than 50 million users to boast.
However, Ek went on to point out something a little more critical of the music industry as a whole. He noted, “We’re paying an enormous amount of money to labels and publishers for distribution to artists and songwriters, and significantly more than any other streaming service.” Essentially, calling out the record labels for hogging much of the profits that could be shared with artists who feel they are being cheated out of their hard-earned money.
That said, he also noted that “most of our competition comes from the tons of free music available just about everywhere,” pointing to the significantly larger problem on the internet – beyond companies like Spotify who do actually pay royalties to artists like Taylor Swift.