In a recent interview with Music Ally published on Thursday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek discussed the platform’s economic model, addressing criticisms that artists aren’t receiving enough from streaming by saying that it’s “not enough” for them to release music “every three to four years.”
“Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape,” Ek said, “where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.” He argued that there is a “narrative fallacy” surrounding the platform and that it is the artists who need to adapt to this new environment by facilitating “continued engagement” with their fans. “It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans,” he said.
As Spotify’s stock value continues to grow, its algorithm, which pays artists based on how many times a song is being streamed compared to the platform’s most popular tracks, has long been the subject of criticism from independent artists. But Ek said artists expressing unhappiness with the way the platform distributes royalties represent a small minority. “It’s quite interesting that while the overall pie is growing, and more and more people can partake in that pie, we tend to focus on a very limited set of artists,” he said. “Even today on our marketplace, there’s literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy.”
He added: “In private they have done that many times, but in public they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.”
A number of artists have taken to social media to respond to Ek’s controversial comments. “it is extremely clear that Spotify billionaire daniel ek has never made music, or art of any kind for that matter,” Zola Jesus wrote. “he refuses to understand there’s a difference between commodities and art. the potential for cultural growth will suffer because of it.”