Spotify’s CEO on Tuesday aired his frustration with Taylor Swift’s critique of the streaming music service, arguing that his company’s revenue sharing agreements ensure that musicians get paid for their work and serve as a bulwark against online piracy.
“We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it,” wrote CEO Daniel Ek in a post on Spotify’s official blog. Ek said that Spotify had paid a total of $2 billion to music labels and their associated artists since Spotify launched in 2008, a sum he argued wouldn’t exist had fans downloaded the music through pirated websites.
Ek’s defense came in the wake of pop artist Taylor Swift’s widely publicized decision to pull all of her music, save one song, from the streaming service last week. Swift has previously criticized Spotify’s payments to musical artists — which average less than a penny per played song — as inadequate compensation for artists.
“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,” Ek wrote in the post. “We will do anything we can to work with the industry to increase transparency, improve speed of payments, and give artists the opportunity to promote themselves and connect with fans.”