Discover client recommended agencies

Spotify CEO rebukes Taylor Swift's claim the site doesn't pay fairly instead blaming piracy for the industry's decline

Daniel Ek addressed misconceptions regarding Spotify

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek has hit back at claims from Taylor Swift that the streaming service underpays artists, instead blaming piracy for the drop in music sales.

In an impassioned blog post Ek has claimed it was piracy that was exploiting artists and not his site.

He issued the comment in response to Taylor Swift's accusation last week that Spotify offers her "life's work" for free to listeners in a “grand experiment" while not "fairly compensating the writers, producers, artists, and creators of music".

In response, EK said: “Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. 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.

“Spotify has paid more than $2bn to labels, publishers and collecting societies [since we started in 2008.”

He added that piracy brought artists “zilch” and that Spotify serves the industry well considering that free music is easily available on YouTube and file-sharing sites.

Ek concluded: “We’re trying to build a new music economy that works for artists in a way the music industry never has before. And it is working - Spotify is the single biggest driver of growth in the music industry, the number one source of increasing revenue, and the first or second biggest source of overall music revenue in many places.”

The blog claimed that although non-premium users can listen to music for free, artists still receive revenue from ads, which appear every five songs on the mobile apps.

Ek also addressed comments that artists receive a pittance for the amount of streams each song can receive claiming that for half a million streams Spotify pays out around three and four thousand dollars.

He added that a moderate-sized radio station, with around that many listeners would pay musicians nothing.

Meanwhile it has emerged that Taylor Swift has pulled in an excess of $6m from the site.

Last week, Adele's manager Jonathan Dickens said the streaming platform was "not the bad guy" as it at least provided artist's revenue despite free (but unauthorised) streams upon YouTube.

By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy