Spotify has issued a ‘Swift’ rebuttal over pop star Taylor’s decision to remove her back catalogue from the popular music streaming service.
The hugely popular Shake It Off singer announced she was abstaining from Spotify last week, claiming the service does not fairly compensate writers and artists for their music.
In a lengthy response Spotify CEO Daniel Ek pointed out the Swedish company licenses every song available through the service and has so far paid out more than $2 billion in royalties to artists.
“That’s two billion dollars’ worth of listening that would have happened with zero or little compensation to artists and songwriters through piracy or practically equivalent services if there was no Spotify,” he wrote.
Within the post Ek claims the alternative to the funds dished out by Spotify is the zero revenue artists bring in through privacy. Ek is now worried those who streamed Swift’s music through Spotify will now go back to sites like The Pirate Bay.
“You can’t look at Spotify in isolation,” he wrote. “Even though Taylor can pull her music off Spotify (where we license and pay for every song we’ve ever played), her songs are all over services and sites like YouTube and Soundcloud, where people can listen all they want for free.
“To say nothing of the fans who will just turn back to pirate services like Grooveshark. And sure enough, if you looked at the top spot on The Pirate Bay last week, there was 1989 [Swift’s latest album].”
Ek says that while listening and buying habits are changing, Spotify is ensuring artists are being paid for music again, saying: “We’re connecting artists to fans they would never have otherwise found, and we’re paying them for every single listen. We’re not just streaming, we’re mainstreaming now, and that’s good for music makers and music lovers around the world.”
Our own Jon Mundy weighed in last week, which side of the streaming debate do you fall on? Are services like Spotify saving or destroying music?