Spotify CEO Daniel Ek named the most powerful person in the music business beating out major label CEOs

Spotify’s top man Daniel Ek has been named as the most powerful person in the music industry by Billboard, taking the place of Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge.

Music magazine Billboard have updated their Power 100 list for 2017 with their list of the music industry’s most powerful people. Moving up from tenth place Spotify CEO and Chairman has now been ranked as the most powerful person across the music biz.

Billboard said of his position:

“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: Spotify chairman/CEO Daniel Ek.

Against heavy odds, in 2011, the young, tech-savvy Swede convinced the major labels to invest in and support an on-demand subscription model that included a controversial free tier, arguing that it would curb piracy. Ek’s model worked — first in Scandinavia, then Europe, and now in the United States, where Spotify’s effect on the music business has been nothing short of transformative:
In 2016, streaming accounted for 51 percent of music consumption in the United States, and Spotify dominated the category. The company is adding subscribers faster than Apple, to the point that it now accounts for 43 percent of paid subscribers worldwide, according to research firm MIDiA.

Behind Ek was Universal Music Group’s CEO and Chariman, Lucian Grainge, who held the top spot last year. UMG controls more of the music industry than any other company and that’s in part thanks to Grainge’s excellent management and business strategies. Grainge said of his approach: “The industry is in a fragile recovery. I’m doing everything I can to improve it for the artist, for my company, for the industry.”

In fourth place behind Live Nation’s CEO/President Michael Rapino, comes the Apple team of Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, and Robert Kondrk. Apple’s streaming service Apple Music is currently one of Spotify’s biggest contenders in streaming however with Ek’s new positioning at the top of Billboard’s Power 100 Spotify remain confidently in the lead, for now.

Apple are planning big things for the future of Apple music though, with Apple’s vice president of media apps and content Robert Kondrk saying: “We are [just] getting subscriptions and music at your fingertips to the masses. There’s a lot of work to be done to reach people, educate them and provide music the way people want to listen to it. Our team thinks about feeding the beast every day, whether it’s exclusives form an album or something in the video space.”

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