Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Comments on AI — ‘This Could Be Potentially Huge for Creativity’

Daniel Ek AI comments
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Daniel Ek AI comments
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Photo Credit: Mojahid Mottakin

Spotify’s latest quarterly financial call with investors reveals an interesting perspective on AI creativity from CEO Daniel Ek.

During the call, Ek was asked to discuss his thoughts on what opportunities and risks there are from generative AI, specifically with regard to music creation. “This is very early days and it’s an incredibly fast-developing space,” Ek admits. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in technology, how fast innovation and progress is happening in all the really both cool and scary things people are doing with the AI at the moment. I think it’s important.”

“On the risk side would be not just for Spotify, but I think for our entire creative ecosystem is obviously the question around copyrights and who owns what copyrights and what the fair way would be to attribute value when you’re doing things in name and likeness situations or inspired by a certain artist,” Ek continues. 

He’s specifically referencing a hit AI track created on TikTok that was a mashup of Drake and The Weeknd. UMG went to bat for both artists, asking DSPs to keep the song off of their platforms.

“I think the whole industry is trying to figure that out and trying to figure out training and I would definitely put that on the risk account because there’s a lot of uncertainty for the entire ecosystem,” he continues. “But on the positive side, to flip on that for a moment because I don’t think that’s been highlighted as part of the story. I think this could be potentially huge for creativity on the positive side.”

“If you really think about it, with how these conversational interfaces work, it will allow people that perhaps don’t know anything about how to play music or even know complex music production software tools to now create just using their voice and instructing the AI to make something sound a certain way using descriptions. That has the change, I think, to meaningfully augment that creative journey that many artists do.”

Ek was also specifically mentioned about fake AI-generated artist tracks on the platform and how it could impact Spotify’s bottom line in the future.

 “And it’s important to state that there’s everything from what you’ve mentioned sort of fake tracks from artists, which falls in one bucket to everything of just augmenting using AI to allow for expression, which probably falls in the more lenient and easier bucket,” Ek states.

“So these are very, very complex issues that don’t have a single straight answer on how you take the position depending on what would happen. But we’re in constant discussion with our partners and creators and artists and want to strike a balance between allowing innovation and, of course, protecting artists.”

Want more than just the highlights? Read the full Spotify investor transcript here.