Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has opened up about streaming as a viable income source, noting that now is a better time than ever for artists to make a living from digital music platforms.
Ever since streaming became the most popular way for music-lovers to discover new tunes, artists have hit back at the services for the lack of money the musicians actually receive in the process.
While artists like Disturbed’s David Draiman and Car Seat Headrest have defended services like Spotify, others such as Portishead have previously noted how they received a paltry $3,280 from 34 million streams.
Now, in a recent appearance on the Freakonomics Radio podcast (via Billboard), Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has discussed a number of topics in regards to the streaming platform, including making podcasts a priority, and the livelihood of artists.
Describing the mission of Spotify, Ek claimed; “The way I think about our mission is to inspire human creativity by enabling a million artists to be able to live off of their art and a billion people to be able to enjoy and be inspired by it.”
“I think we are in the process of creating a more fair and equal music industry than it’s ever been in the past.”
Noting how easy that Spotify has made the distribution process, Daniel Ek claimed that a “far greater” number of artists now are able to make a living off of their music than ever before.
“Back in 2000, 2001, at the very, very peak of the music industry, peak of CD… Our estimate is that there were about 20 to maybe 30,000 artists that could live on being recorded music artists,” Ek stated.
“Why? Well, because, again, the distribution costs so much, which ended up being that there’s very few artists that could even get distributed to begin with. And because the costs were fairly high for a person buying the music, you ended up going with what you knew and wouldn’t take that much risk on unknown artists.”
“So in the world with streaming, what’s really interesting is the alternative cost for you to listen to something new is virtually zero,” he continued. “It’s just your time.”
“And because of that, you do listen to a lot more music than you did before and you listen to a bigger diversity of artists than you did before which in turn then grows the music industry.”
Despite this though, there are a number of artists who believe that the game is rigged against them, and claim it’s almost impossible to carve out a sustainable music career in the streaming age.
Back in February, Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein noted how he is forced to partake in meet and greets just to help him gain the cash he says he doesn’t make from streaming.
“The thing that sucks the most about [the music industry] is that everybody steals music,” Doyle began. “You spend a fucking hundred thousand dollars to make a record and all of these fucking scumbags are just fucking stealing it.”
“[Artists] make nothing [from Spotify], it’s $9 a month, and you can listen to a song 10,000 times if you want. If there’s enough time in that month to listen to it 10,000 times, I don’t know, I can’t do the math.”
“But how much do you think the bands get? It’s like a hundredth, maybe a thousandth of a penny you get,” he continued. “My girlfriend [Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy] went to their office, she said it was insane. I would’ve went fucking mental, I would’ve started breaking everything.”
“Lars Ulrich was right when he sued fucking Napster and everybody thought he was a dick. He didn’t do it for him, he’s got the fucking money, he did it for fucking jerk-offs like me.”