The net worth estimate was calculated by the London-based Sunday Times, which now ranks Spotify CEO Daniel Ek as the 10th richest music industry person in Britain (Ek is now based in London). The personal worth of 190 million pounds, or $310 million at current exchange rates, puts Ek on par with Mick Jagger.
Here’s the Times ranking.
1. Clive Calder
Estimated net worth: £1.35 billion
2. Sir Cameron Mackintosh
3. Sir Paul McCartney
4. Lord Lloyd Webber
£519 million (combined)
6. Simon Fuller
7. Simon Cowell
8. Sir Elton John
9. Michael Flatley
10. (tied) David and Victoria Beckham
Sir Mick Jagger
A few problems immediately stand out with the calculation. Ek’s valuation is largely paper-based and mostly illiquid: Spotify may be worth more than $1.2 billion (or more) based on investor valuations, but Ek simply cannot access a large percentage of this capital. That is, unless a monster acquisition or IPO takes place (a huge ‘if’ right now.)
Then, there’s the nagging issue of a money-bleeding business model, though insiders are increasingly pointing Digital Music News to a billion-dollar shell game. And in this game, profits don’t necessarily matter: Spotify has the ridiculous scale of Facebook and Coca-Cola; it has investors willing to gamble with hundreds of millions; it has the possibility of going public on Wall Street or even getting acquired at an Instagram-style multiple.
Sounds like a great game if you’re a Spotify investor, Spotify executive like Ek, or major label payee. But artists seem to be getting completely left out of this ‘game,’ thanks to laughable payouts and endless pressure to participate in the ‘future’. The question is whether enough will play along. “Spotify would be/have nothing if not for the artists who create the music!” one artist emailed us morning.