Mike Portnoy Calls Spotify CEO “A Greedy Little Bitch”

  • Axl Rosenberg

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek endeared himself to musicians last week when he defended the streaming service’s royalty rates — which is on the lower end of well-known DSPs — during an interview with Music Ally:

“It’s quite interesting that while the overall pie is growing, and more and more people can partake in that pie, we tend to focus on a very limited set of artists,” [Ek] said, referring to the reporting of views on streaming royalties.

“Even today on our marketplace, there’s literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy, but we very rarely see anyone who’s talking about… In the entire existence [of Spotify] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single artist saying ‘I’m happy with all the money I’m getting from streaming,” he continued.

“Stating that publicly. In private they have done that many times, but in public they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.”

“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.

“The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”

Ek cited Taylor Swift’s activity around her new album ‘Folklore’ as just one recent example of an artist benefitting from that kind of effort.

“I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released,” he said, as the interview ended.

Needless to say, some very prominent members of the metal community have subsequently taken issue with Ek’s statement.

Of the most, er, let’s say “aggressive” of these responses came from former Dream Theater Mike Portnoy, who wrote the following on social media:

“What a greedy little bitch…it’s bad enough that he’s worth BILLIONS based on stealing and giving away other musician’s music…but now he’s suggesting we need to make MORE music for HIM to make more money!!! F-Spotify and F-Daniel Ek.

“I have 8 full album releases in 2020 & will make PEANUTS on them (if anything at all…) So his theory of artists needing to make MORE music to succeed is shit! F-Daniel Ek & F-Spotify! Support THE ARTISTS DIRECTLY if you want them to be able to continue to make music…”

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider was only slightly less hostile in his own social media comments:

“While you (the listener) benefit & enjoy spotify, it’s part of what’s killing a major income stream for artist/creators. The amount of artists ‘rich enough’ to withstand this loss are about .0001%. Daniel Ek’s solution is for us to write & record more on our dime?! Fuck him!”

Sebastian Bach, meanwhile, took a more sarcastic tone when criticizing Ek…

“When this guy puts out an album himself I will listen to him tell me about my albums.”

…as did Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, who I think had the best response of all:

“[S]ure, on one hand Spotify is vampiric and exploitative of naive talent. [B]ut on the other hand, $.17 split 5 ways every six months is income I never would have earned had I not sacrificed years of my life to making the music found there. [S]o who’s to say, really.”

You can read the entire interview with Ek here.


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