How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians)

Logo of "Freakonomics Radio" podcast, produced by Sirius XM and Dubner Productions
Spotify Logo

Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek gave a rare interview to Freakonomics Radio for an episode I produced. We tell the story of how Ek (who grew up in Sweden listening to pirated music) managed to sell the record labels on his plan to make online listening legit. And, remarkably, it has worked: after years of crashing income, the labels are growing again. Spotify has also benefited big, name-brand artists who have billions of streams. But the story is quite a bit less rosy for artists caught in the long tail – exactly those artists who seemed to have the most to gain from the arrangement. You can listen to the episode here (or, for that matter, on Spotify) and read a summary on Medium.