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Explaining why she took her music off Spotify, Taylor Swift said, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music.” Last night, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek rebutted by saying a bunch of words surrounding the figure “$6 million.” That’s how much payouts are on track for this year for a “top artist like Taylor Swift.” (You could fill a swimming pool with maple latte with that money, Tay.)
The main thrust of the post can be summarized by a quote from Quincy Jones, which Ek references: “Spotify is not the enemy; piracy is the enemy.” Ek continues, “Two numbers: Zero and Two Billion. Piracy doesn’t pay artists a penny — nothing, zilch, zero. Spotify has paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.” It does make sense, though it depends on how you see streaming: Is it an oasis, saving the music industry from the desert heat, or a vulture, making a living picking the remains off the industry’s already-dead corpse?