Daniel Ek wants you to take Taylor Swift's opinions on Spotify with a grain of salt.
The founder and CEO of Spotify has published a lengthy blog post, in an attempt to argue against the image that artists such as Swift are painting of Spotify. Swift is one of the latest musicians to speak out against music-streaming services. She even withheld her most recent album release and removed her entire back catalogue of music from Spotify.
There have been several musicians and bands in recent years - heck, since Spotify founded in 2008 - who have claimed Spotify doesn't pay out enough money to artists. Singer Aloe Blacc recently asserted that Avicii’s Wake Me Up, which Blacc co-wrote and sang, was the most streamed song in Spotify history, yet it yielded less than $4,000 domestically from Spotify.
Ek doesn't address Blacc in his blog post, but he did confront Swift directly: "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," Ek wrote.
According to Ek, Spotify has paid more than $2 billion to labels and publishers for distribution to songwriters and recording artists. He also said that's "two billion dollars’ worth of listening that would have happened with zero or little compensation to artists and songwriters through piracy or practically equivalent services if there was no Spotify."
Swift, for instance, sold 1.2 million copies of her album 1989 in the US in its first week, but that album also held the top spot on The Pirate Bay last week. Ek described how Spotify is therefore trying to build a new music economy that works for artists. He even said that Swift, before she pulled her catalogue, was on track to exceed $6 million a year from Spotify.
You can read Ek's whole blog post for more arguments, though one thing is clear: he think music streaming services are the future, and that artists need to realise piracy is to blame for plummeting music sales, not Spotify.