Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims cost of making content is “close to zero”, internet outrage ensues

Spotify is notorious for its low royalty payments to artists.

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Spotify

What is the cost of creating content? Well, according to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, “close to zero”. And his comments have sparked outrage online.

The tech boss took to X to share his thoughts on the value of content creation and Stoicism (among others) last week, writing: “Today, with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content. This has sparked my curiosity about the concept of long shelf life versus short shelf life.”

“While much of what we see and hear quickly becomes obsolete, there are timeless ideas or even pieces of music that can remain relevant for decades or even centuries.”

“For example, we’re witnessing a resurgence of Stoicism, with many of Marcus Aurelius’s insights still resonating thousands of years later. This makes me wonder: what are the most unintuitive, yet enduring ideas that aren’t frequently discussed today but might have a long shelf life? Also, what are we creating now that will still be valued and discussed hundreds or thousands of years from today?”

The backlash to Ek’s post came hard and fast, with artists and fans alike slamming the executive for being “out of touch” with his remarks. One user, composer Tim Prebble, commented: “Music will still be valued in a hundred years. 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).”

Calling Ek a “billionaire off of everyone else’s hard work and time”, Canadian singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson also blasted: “Creating music is not even close to zero, my out of touch friend. Johnson highlights the cost of buying a “good computer to run all the programs, guitars and drum kits” associated with making music, adding: “So you’re saying if a song takes me six hours to create, that my time is close to zero and the gear I used whether I bought my own or rented it was close to zero. It’s ludicrous!”

Ek’s comments are the latest in a string of PR and legal woes for the streaming giant, which is facing a lawsuit for allegedly underpaying tens of millions in royalties to songwriters and publishers after its “bundling” subscription plans. The platform’s new AI Playlist feature has also been accused recently of being homophobic.


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