Billboard has named Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, as the most powerful person in music. Streaming is now clearly mainstream.
With streaming now forming the latest phase of music consumption, Spotify, the clear front runner in that regard, has never been in a greater position of influence.
Daniel Ek, the company’s chairman and CEO, has been recognised by Billboard as the entire music industry’s most powerful person.
Noting the signs of growth in the music industry (not seen since Napster initiated the copyright-ignoring download craze of the early 2000s), Ek’s management of Spotify is described as a key reason behind the return to the good times.
“Against heavy odds, in 2011, the young, tech-savvy Swede convinced the major labels to invest in and support an on-demand subscription model that included a controversial free tier, arguing that it would curb piracy,” said Billboard.
Scandinavian, European and then US success followed, with the streaming model now entertaining major tech players like Apple and Google.
Lucian Grainge (Universal), Michael Rapino (Live Nation), Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine and Robert Kondrk (Apple) and Rob Stringer (Columbia) were also named as top influencers in the industry.
Despite Ek’s level of power, Spotify has yet to turn a profit.
But that could change, possibly in time for an IPO expected later this year. Last September, Spotify reported a 33pc rise in premium subscribers in just six months (up to 40m), offering greater opportunity to finally make a profit.
Considering that even 30m paid subscribers were not enough for the company to break even – despite an 80pc rise in revenues to €2bn in 2015, it still posted losses of €173m – a speedy spike in income would be a welcome boon to Spotify.