Spotify’s Daniel Ek named most powerful person in the music business


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Spotify’s chairman/CEO, Daniel Ek, has been named as the most powerful person in the music industry by the trade magazine Billboard. Ek, 33, tops Billboard’s annual “Power 100”, rising from No 10 last year. He displaces Lucian Grainge, the chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group.

Opening its citation for Ek, Billboard says: “For the first time since Napster decimated music sales, the recorded-music industry is showing signs of growth, and that reversal of fortune is largely due to one man … Daniel Ek.”

It notes that Spotify’s impact in the US “has been nothing short of transformative: in 2016, streaming accounted for 51% of music consumption in the United States, and Spotify dominated the category”.

Ek co-founded Spotify in 2006, launching it in 2008, and rapidly gaining major-label support for the vision of an industry-backed site making a vast catalogue of music available. It has also become a significant driver of music discovery, with the playlists it suggests to users.

Although Spotify is estimated to be worth £8bn, it has still not turned a profit. In 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, it made a loss of $200m.

Billboard’s Power 100 top 10

1. Daniel Ek – chairman/CEO of Spotify
2. Lucian Grainge – chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group
3. Michael Rapino – president/CEO of Live Nation Entertainment
4. Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine and Robert Kondrk – senior executives at Apple Music
5. Rob Stringer – CEO of Sony Music Entertainment
6. Irving Azoff – chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment
7. Martin Bandier – chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing
8. Stephen Cooper – CEO of Warner Music Group
9. Rob Light, Darryl Eaton, Mitch Rose and Rick Roskin – senior executives in the music division of Creative Artists Agency
10. Doug Morris – chairman of Sony Music Entertainment

  • This article was amended on 10 February to correct the year in which Spotify was founded.

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