Spotify’s top executives report millions in income, while the company struggles to actually turn a profit.
Despite the platform’s massive popularity, it continues to bleed money. Net losses doubled last year to $600 million. It has yet to post a profit since its launch in 2008.
Yet, while the company struggles to actually turn its streaming platform into a profitable business, company executives continue to burn a ton of cash on lavish spending. Earlier this year, ahead of their rumored May 2018 IPO launch, the company took out a 17-year, $566 million World Trade Center lease, with almost $31 million in upfront payments required.
$600 million in losses and growing. Yet, top executives earn millions. Now, I’m scared.
In Sweden, all tax returns are public information. Some are simply a phone call away. For a small to medium cost, several websites specialize in providing reports of a person’s last two years of taxed income.
Last year, Digital Music News found that on average, Spotify executives earned $1.34 million. Swedish publication Breakit looked up the 2017 tax information of Spotify executives. The news website found that five of the company’s senior executives earned a combined total of 225 million Swedish krona, or $26.5 million.
Spotify’s Chief Product Officer had the highest reported income. This year, Gustav Söderström reported 67 million kr ($7.9 million). Co-founder and former Chairman of the Board Martin Lorenzton received 44.1 million kr ($5.2 million). Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer Alex Noström reported an income of 42.1 million kr ($5 million). CEO Daniel Ek received 8 million kr ($4.5 million). Oskar Stål, Vice President of Consumer Engagement, reported 34 millon kr ($4 million).
Spotify’s global HR manager, Katarina Berg, and Tax Director, Jens Svolgaard, reported the most modest incomes. Berg received 6.7 million kr ($789,260) while Svolgaard reported 3.6 million kr ($424,080).
Breakit’s report doesn’t specify whether the income declarations include shares and options, or are simply their actual salary. In fact, as the platform’s founders wrote in 2016,
“The tax rules in practice in Sweden make it impossible for employee stock options to be well known.”
In the country, employers have to pay social security contributions on the whole stock.
Breakit reached out to Spotify’s Communication Manager, Sofie Grant, who declined to comment on the report.
Featured image by Magnus Hoij (CC by 2.0)