Interview with Daniel Ek about Spotify's history, running a $25B company, Sweden's subsidies for internet and computers, Napster, his love of music, and family (Stephen J. Dubner/Freakonomics)


Spotify has been a savior for record labels like Universal Music Group, which has tripled its value since 2013. Meanwhile, just 28 percent of artists earned money from streaming in 2018. (Photo: Hayward/Getty)

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?

Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability.

For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.

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Over the past year or two, we’ve done a couple special series of episodes. One was called “How to Be Creative”; the other was “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” You wouldn’t think those two themes would intersect all that often. But today, they do — in a rare conversation with this man:

Daniel EK: My name is Daniel Ek

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