Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has struck back at Taylor Swift after she removed her music from the service last week. In a lengthy blog post outlining everything he believes his company does for musicians, Ek says Spotify has “paid out more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.”
He goes on to break down that $2 billion dollar figure into “a billion dollars from the time we started Spotify in 2008 to last year and another billion dollars since then.” He goes on to claim that those $2 billion dollars of listening would have brought in practically no equivalent sales without Spotify. That’s a bold claim and a hard one to prove.
On the specific issue of Taylor Swift removing her music, Ek argues that she’s an exception, as “the only artist who has sold more than a million copies in an album’s first week since 2002.” He notes that while her music has been removed from Spotify, it’s still available on YouTube and SoundCloud “where people can listen all they want for free” and that Swift’s latest album 1989 topped the charts on The Pirate Bay last week.
Ek concludes by reiterating his belief that Spotify is good for artists: “We’re getting fans to pay for music again. We’re connecting artists to fans they would never have otherwise found, and we’re paying them for every single listen.” But with Swift still on Rdio, her argument seems to be more about fans paying upfront than how the streaming services work, regardless of how YouTube and SoundCloud muddy the water.
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