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Spotify CEO says it pays $6 million a year to a top artist like Taylor Swift

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In the wake of Taylor Swift clarifying her reasons for opting out of Spotify, the streaming service's CEO took to the company blog to offer a rebuttal. Daniel Ek says that "a top artist like Taylor Swift" can earn more than $6 million per year from the outfit, and that number only stands to rise. Of course, labels are the ones who arrange licensing agreements, so we can't be sure how much of the money is actually making it to Ms. Swift and her cohorts. Spotify on the whole has shelled out over $2 billion in royalties thus far, and its looking to be clear about how it works. "We will do anything we can to work with the industry to increase transparency, improve speed of payments, and give artists the opportunity to promote themselves and connect with fans," says Ek. "That's our responsibility as a leader in this industry; and it's the right thing to do." So where is that money coming from? Of its 50 million users, 12.5 million are paid subscribers, accounting for $120 each per year in monthly fees. Some quick arithmetic indicates that sum to be $1.5 billion, and the rest of the lot are generating revenue from ad-supported streaming.

Ek also takes on the argument that streaming options like his are hurting album sales. In the post, there are several examples of artists that held both the number one spot and were available on Spotify at the same time. He's also quick to point out that album sales/downloads on the whole continue to decline, citing slumping numbers in Canada before the service was available there. Sure, Taylor Swift sold over 1.2 million copies of 1989 in a week, but that hadn't been done in over ten years, and she has the first platinum album in the US of 2014... in November. "We're getting fans to pay for music again. We're connecting artists to fans they would never have otherwise found, and we're paying them for every single listen," Ek explains.

[Photo credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images]

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