Music | August 1, 2020 9:00 am

Spotify CEO Tells Musicians They Need to Record More Music, and Faster

Daniel Ek has been criticized by a wide range of artists for his comments

Samsung Unpacked New York City
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in 2018.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Samsung

If you enjoy hearing heated discourse, ask someone connected with the music industry whether or not Spotify has been good for them, and for the industry as a whole. Odds are good that this theoretical person will have an opinion to share, and it will be strong. The topic of how much revenue artists make from Spotify via royalties is perennially contentious, and it’s become even more so with touring musicians losing out on money from playing concerts during the pandemic.

In a recent interview, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek offered musicians some advice on making more money via the platform. Unfortunately, he didn’t reveal plans for a new royalty program or other methods for artists to earn more from their work. Instead, Ek argued that they should be making music at a faster pace.

At Stereogum, Chris DeVille has a solid overview of Ek’s comments, which came up in an interview with the site Music Ally.

“There is a narrative fallacy here, combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough,” said Ek.

Stereogum’s article on Ek’s remarks also collects some of the responses from prominent musicians. United in their frustration with Ek’s comments are David Crosby and Zola Jesus. Responses from musicians on Twitter have ranged from curt dismissals of Ek to longer testimonials to the effect that resonant art takes time to create.

It takes a special event to bring together such a disparate group of musicians. Apparently, Daniel Ek arguing for a complete upending of the creative process to benefit his company is one such event.

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