Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has given a rare interview, to Fast Company, in which he manages with aplomb to swerve any controversial statements that might make Spotify’s music licensors cross. Ek does talk up the potential for Spotify to make more of its ad-supported tier beyond its status as a funnel towards subscriptions, though.
“Billions of people listen to radio, and most of that today isn’t monetised very efficiently,” he tells the journalist. “Commercial radio, that’s conservatively a $50 billion industry globally. The U.S. radio industry is $17 billion, close to the size of the whole global recorded music industry, which is $23 billion. And what do people listen to? Primarily music. We still have a lot of room to grow.”
Other highlights from the article: some shade from Apple CEO Tim Cook – “We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft”; R&D boss Gustav Soderstrom’s promise that “Spotify’s first eight to 10 years were focused on consumers. The next eight to 10 will be focused on artists”; and some insight into the departure of chief content officer Stefan Blom, after Ek pressed him on whether he was up for the tasks ahead around label and artist relations, playlisting and original content.
“He worked incredibly hard getting these label deals done, and then you realise, Holy shit, it’s going to be more of this for another few years. I wasn’t forcing him to do one thing or the other, I’m just asking the questions…”