Founder of streaming service argues against new rival and vocal critic of his company
Beats Music launched in the US earlier this week (January 21) and has the backing of Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor as well as Dr Dre. Radiohead’s music, which was pulled from Spotify by Yorke in 2013, is available to stream on Beats Music but Ek is not impressed by what he has seen from the service so far.
Speaking to Billboard about his company and the future of Spotify as more rivals begin to emerge, Ek said of Beats: It’s a competitor, for sure, but my way of looking at it is, if it gets people to understand the value of streaming, it is ultimately good. Our way of doing this is not just slapping some celebrity brand on it and hoping it will be good. We are a social service; we are a product company. People have tried to put a brand on it and thought that’s enough, and they have failed: Microsoft, Nokia – many big companies.”
Meanwhile, Ek takes Spotify’s vocal critic Yorke to task, arguing that the Radiohead frontman does not understand the way in which streaming differs from purchasing music. “[He] looks at this and says over a million streams gives me a few thousand dollars, and he says, ‘If I had a million downloads, that would mean $1million so Spotify is not good’. But the difference is he would not have had a million downloads because they are not comparable. In fact, with 24 million users, and Apple has 500 million users, we already have billions of streams today.
To combat the criticism Spotify has been receiving from artists, Beats Music plan to pay the same royalty fee for every track on its database. “Beats Music is based on the belief that all music has value and this concept was instilled in every step of its development. We want it to be just as meaningful for artists as it is for fans,” said Trent Reznor ahead of the service’s launch. “We’re committed to providing revenue to artists, while helping to strengthen the connection with their fans.”
It is currently unclear when the service will be rolled out across Europe.