Spotify has garnered plenty of headlines recently, particularly following Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her collection of music from the streaming service, but that’s not slowing the company down. The firm said recently it now has more than 12.5 million subscribers, up from 10 million that it recorded in May of this year. Of course, Swift’s decision was made more recently, though at those growth rates it seems unlikely to slow down Spotify’s upward moving momentum.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek noted the milestone in a blog post on Tuesday discussing Swift’s decision to pull her music catalog. “Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it,” Ek explained. “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 said his service has paid recording artists, labels, publishers and songwriters more than $2 billion while piracy pays them nothing, and that Spotify is actually combating piracy. “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 – that’s our responsibility as a leader in this industry; and it’s the right thing to do,” Ek added.
Ek addressed several myths in the industry, including some that suggest Spotify doesn’t pay enough and that it actually hurts sales, but made some compelling arguments to the contrary. He said that a song played about 500,000 times on Spotify would pay the recording artists about $3,000 to $4,000, but the same song played once on a radio station in the United States with 500,000 listeners would pay them nothing. An artist like Taylor Swift, Ek said, would typically earn about $6 million a year from the service.
“Our interests are aligned with yours,” Ek told the recording industry, noting that Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, is currently the number one most downloaded album on Pirate Pay. “People’s listening habits have changed – and they’re not going to change back.”