Last week we learned that pop star Taylor Swift decided to remove all her music from Spotify because she felt that it doesn’t “fairly compensate the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music” and that she couldn’t “agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.” Now Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has responded to Swift’s criticism by saying that she and other artists should be grateful to the service because otherwise pirates would just steal their music and they wouldn’t make any money.
Taylor Swift has criticized streaming services like Spotify for not sharing enough of its revenues with musicians. On Tuesday, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek responded, saying that that streaming service is paying more than $2 billion in royalties. Ek defended the streaming service, calling it the fastest-growing source of new revenues for the music industry. “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,” he wrote in a blog post on Spotify’s site. “Lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist,” he added. “As I said, we’ve already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that’s a big problem.” One reason that musicians don’t see as much money as they could is that music middlemen — namely record labels and publishers – often take a big portion of the royalties paid by streaming services such as Spotify.