Spotify explains direct artist deals: "Licensing content doesn’t make us a label"

Spotify explains direct artist deals: "Licensing content doesn’t make us a label"

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, during a financial earnings call with analysts (following the publication of Spotify’s Q2 financials) took his chance to talk about Spotify's direct licensing deals.

Ek explained:

As a platform, we’ve always licensed music from rightsholders both large and small, and we will continue to license music from whoever owns the rights. The long-term success metrics for this platform is growing the number of creators on our platform… using our promotion, marketing and career-management tools, and the number of artists and labels paying us to use those tools and services.

And, in particular, he said:

Licensing content doesn’t make us a label, nor do we have any interest in being a label… We want to grow the number of labels and creators on the platform, as well as the number of creators using our tools and services. In some cases we license from labels, and in others from artists if they own the rights to their own music.

Ek also denied that Spotify’s India launch is being held hostage by rightsholders angry at his company’s direct deals with artists:

I think the truth of the matter is: when you deal with licensing in our case, not just [with] one company but local publishers, local record companies, global record companies, global publishers, it is always a complicated manoeuvre.
As much as I would like to be able to say we can accurately estimate to the day when we’re going to launch in a market, there’s always local considerations… Delays when it comes to licensing for various reasons is just commonplace in this industry, and nothing related to our overall strategy.