Spotify Executives Are Earning Seven-Figure Salaries, Tax Returns Show

Top Executives Earn Millions, While Spotify Bleeds Money
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Spotify’s top executives report millions in income, while the company struggles to actually turn a profit.

Earlier this year, Spotify announced that it has “well over” 60 million subscribers.  Around the world, it has 140 million monthly active users.

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)

7 Responses

  1. Spotirot

    It’s hilariously sad they can afford all these wages, those nyc offices and what not… while their payouts are the lowest.
    Why do you even count the free subscriptions? It’s like youtube, billions of users listening to music but yuo don’t see people saying google music has 1billion subs.
    Boycott spotify.
    I’m pretty sure the only ones that will last the test of time in this new era experiment are the big corporations who can afford this, or sell the subs with a bundle of some of their other products or a ton other ways.
    Spotify has only one thing to count on and apparently they aren’t the brightest when it comes to using the revenue wisely.

  2. Martin C

    When there was just plain piracy and free downloads I knew many people who would have loads of free music, but they would make a point of buying the music they liked as they were aware that they’d paid nothing.
    Now those same people pay monthly to Spotify and no longer buy CDs as they haven’t stolen anything.
    I blame the big record companies who now grow fat on huge shares of pre-digital catalogues that they still own, paying the artists a share based on having to cart heavy vinyl around the world.