Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Claims the "Cost of Creating Content" Is "Close to Zero"

He is once again devaluing art

Photo: Magnus Höij

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jun 2, 2024

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has once again put his foot in his mouth, this time by claiming that "the cost of creating content [is] close to zero."

In a rambling tweet posted on Wednesday (May 29), Ek pondered which current creations will remain influential for centuries and which ones will fade into obscurity. As an example, he cited Stoicism, a philosophy about living a virtuous life dating back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

It's a potentially interesting enough question, although Ek spoiled the whole thing with a throwaway remark in the first line of his tweet: "Today, with the cost of creating content being close to zero, people can share an incredible amount of content."

This is, of course, rubbing a lot of commenters the wrong way, given how Spotify's famously low royalties have devalued art, especially for musicians.

Ek is correct only in the most technical of senses: yes, it is possible for anyone with a phone and an internet connection to create content, but that doesn't account for things like recording equipment, studio time, sound engineers, and the innumerable other costs associated with making music — not to mention the time and creative energy that goes into it.

Adding an extra dimension of bleakness is Ek's use of the word "content" seemingly as an all-encompassing word to include social media posts, podcasts, music and other artistic output.

This is hardly the first time Ek has casually dismissed the work of the very artists who keep his platform afloat. Back in 2020, he claimed, "You can't record music once every three to four years and think that's going to be enough." 

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