Ek also rebuts criticism that the service is harming album sales

Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek has said that he believes the music industry is about to enter “a golden age”.

Ek, whose company has enjoyed a year of rapid growth and now boasts over three million paying subscribers, has said that he firmly believes that if his company and other social networking sites can help increase the amount of social interaction online users engage in, then they will definitely buy more music.

Asked by Grammy.com about his thoughts on how his company and the social sharing of music could help the music industry, Ek replied: “We look at the sharing of music as really, really important for our business. We’ve found that the more social our users are, the faster they grow their own music library. And the faster they grow their music library, the faster they become paying customers.”

He continued: “Personally speaking, I am more bullish on the future of the music industry than ever before, and I think we’re kind of entering a golden age in music.”

Ek also addressed the claims that have been made by a series of music industry figures, that Spotify hinders, rather than helps artists sell records.

He said: “I’d also like to address people who think they’ll gain sales by not being on Spotify. There’s not a shred of data to suggest that. In fact, all the information available points to streaming services helping to drive sales. Album unit sales were up in the U.S. in 2011, the year Spotify launched, for the first time since 2004. More than a dozen albums which debuted at Number One have been available on Spotify at launch.”

Ek added that his company wanted musicians to “win democratically” and that the money Spotify paid in royalty cheques would continue to grow.

He said: “Spotify users are helping pay a ton of money back to the industry. You’re talking 10 million active users, 2.5 million subscribers — most of them paying $120 (£76) a year, which is double the amount of your average iTunes user. At Spotify, we really want you to democratically win as a musician. The royalty cheques we’re paying out now — of course we’re happy that there’s progress being made, but it’s still only in its early days, and it will keep growing.”