Spotify CEO Sparks Anger Among Fans and Creators: “The Cost of Creating Content [Is] Close to Zero”

Unless you’re a musician who uses streaming platforms to sell your music, you may not have heard about the current drama unfolding with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

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Yesterday, May 29, Ek made comments implying that it is extremely affordable to create content with the use of modern technology. The Swedish CEO took to X to say that “with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content.”

Ek went on to note that he wonders whether or not creative works made today will still be valued centuries from now.

The post sparked a bit of backlash among musicians and creators across the social media platform. Several musicians have noted that artists are struggling to make a living off their hard work, and platforms like Spotify hinder their ability to make money from their craft.

“Music will still be valued in a hundred years,” one user wrote in the comments section of Ek’s post. “Spotify won’t. It will only be remembered as a bad example of a parasitic tool for extracting value from other peoples music. (or “content” as some grifters like to call it).”

“*good* content costs money to make,” said another user. “Especially if you’re an artist who gets paid fractions of a cent for their ‘content’”

“Cost of time to write music, cost of equipment to record music, cost to master and to upload to all platforms is not zero,” noted another user. “Zero is the cost and value of tiktok hits.”

The Tone-Deaf Post Isn’t the First Stumble From Spotify’s CEO

Back in 2021, Ek and his team created the Loud & Clear platform to clarify to artists who will receive payments from Spotify for hosting their music on the platform. The move didn’t impress musicians, who said that Spotify doesn’t fairly compensate the creators on their platform.

In 2023, Ek said that he regretted the move.

“It’s a complex topic,” he said in an interview for CBS News. “But I wish I would’ve handled it up front. And it’s very hard to change the narrative once that narrative has established itself. That’s, I guess, the lesson learned from my side.”

Spotify has also been criticized for its moderation choices or lack thereof. Particularly when it came to its licensing deal with Joe Rogan in 2020. Hundreds of doctors allegedly wrote to the platform to protest the move, citing Joe Rogan’s misinformation-spreading habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Noam Galai

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