Following Taylor Swift’s departure from music streaming service, Spotify, the company has been hit with a lot of debate over its future. Well, Spotfiy is finally joining the discussion.
Daniel Ek, chief executive and cofounder of Spotify, posted a statement on the company’s blog Tuesday morning defending their business model.
“All the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time,” Ek said. “Our whole reason for existence is to help fans find music and help artists connect with fans through a platform that protects them from piracy and pays them for their amazing work.”
Ek added that Spotify has paid $2 billion in royalties to the music industry thus far.
Though the company aims to combat piracy with its monthly subscription model, Swift’s sales indicate that being part of the service is not necessary for a musician to be successful. Her new album, 1989, sold nearly 1.3 million copies in the first week, the fastest selling album in 12 years.
Ek also took issue with claims that Spotify doesn’t pay musicians enough. And it isn’t the only company being targeted. In fact, streaming services on the whole are being attacked for not paying artists enough.
According to the New York Times, Avicii claimed his hit, “Wake Me Up,” only yielded $12,359 on Pandora in 2013, even though it was played about 168 million times. Of that money, Avicii only kept less than $4,000.
Though Ek didn’t comment on other streaming service models, he did say that information doesn’t apply to Spotify. He said the comments that Spotify royalties are too low is a “myth” and that payouts for top artists like Taylor Swift “are on track to exceed $6 million a year.”
On Friday, Scott Borchetta, the head of Swift’s record label, Big Machine, said the label didn’t want to pull her music completely from Spotify. Initially, they only wanted to restrict access to the paid tier only, but Spotify refused.
“We never wanted to embarrass a fan,” Borchetta explained on the radio show, Sixx Sense. “If this fan went and purchased the record, CD, iTunes, whatever, and then their friends go, ‘Why did you pay for it? It’s free on Spotify.’ We’re being completely respectful to that super fan who wants to invest, who believes in their favorite artist.”