Spotify head honcho Daniel Ek has blasted the “myths” about his service out of the water in a blog post released in the wake of Taylor Swift’s decision to deny the chance for her latest album to be streamed.
Ek came out in defence of the service that he says has generated some $2 billion [£1.26 million] in royalties for artists since it was launched and Swift would have benefitted to the tune of $6 million [£3.78 million] if the album was on Spotify.
“We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time,” Ek said in his blog post.
Spotify currently numbers some 50 million active users worldwide although just 12.5 million of them pay to be members of the premium service that includes unlimited ad-free streaming.
“Our free service drives our paid service. Here’s the key fact: more than 80 per cent of our subscribers started as free users. If you take away only one thing, it should be this: No free, no paid, no two billion dollars,” Ek stated.
That number has leapt from just 40 million and 10 million in May 2014 and contributes to the $2 billion [£1.26 billion] it has already paid out to artists and the criticism that Spotify makes artists and songwriters no money has left Ek angry.
“When I hear stories about artists and songwriters who say they’ve seen little or no money from streaming and are naturally angry and frustrated, I’m really frustrated too. The music industry is changing – and we’re proud of our part in that change – but lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist,” he added.
Spotify was openly attacked by Swift who stated that she was “not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music."
Swift’s music is currently unavailable on Spotify, however, other comparable services do offer it at a premium tier level and the argument is thought to stem from Spotify’s insistence that it’s allowed to offer the music over both its tiers.