Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Didn’t Draw a Salary in 2022 — But He Did Receive a Cool $181,085 ‘For Home Security Services’

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Football Club
  • Save

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Football Club
  • Save
Photo Credit: Magnus Höij / CC by 2.0

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek didn’t collect a salary from the streaming platform during 2022 – but he did pull in a cool $181,085 “for home security services.”

The Stockholm-based platform disclosed Ek’s fortress-level security bill and other noteworthy details in its Form 20-F, which covers 2022 and was filed earlier in 2023. Despite ongoing conversations about Spotify management’s stock selloffs – higher-ups have moved millions of dollars’ worth of shares on the week – these same professionals’ core compensation packages are receiving comparatively little attention.

Consequently, we examined the seldom-discussed salary specifics attributable to Spotify execs for 2022. As mentioned, CEO Daniel Ek, who according to the document owned 31.13 million shares at yearend, didn’t collect a salary for his work with Spotify during 2022.

The 40-year-old did, however, secure a healthy $181,000 or so (reflecting the Euro-USD exchange rate at the time, nearly identical to the present rate) “for home security services,” the regulatory document shows.

While the text doesn’t pinpoint the allocation of the sizable sum, which comes out to almost $500 per day, the Spotify-covered expenses presumably include the wages of around-the-clock security guards.

In any event, outgoing CFO Paul Vogel billed his employer a comparatively modest $838 for home security last year, per the resource. Nevertheless, the filing indicates that the exec’s own 2022 base salary was $600,000, with $6.19 million in awarded options and a total of 16,465 shares in his possession as of 2022’s conclusion.

Another overpaid Spotify higher-up, now-former chief content and advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff, raked in an astonishing $1 million base salary for 2022, the company relayed.

A testament more than anything else to the platform’s ill-advised strategy of tossing massive checks at the podcasting space and hoping for the best, Ostroff’s 2022 compensation also included $3.35 million in stock (not option) awards and $122,900 for the use of a corporate apartment, according to the filing. Once again as of 2022’s end, Ostroff held 32,633 SPOT shares overall, per the source.

Bigger picture, though we reported most of the figures some years back, it’s worth reiterating that Spotify also shelled out a total of €170 million for Bill Simmons’ The Ringer, €195 million for podcast-technology company Megaphone, €45 million for Podz (another podcast-tech operation), €57 million for live-audio offering Betty Labs, and €83 million total for Podsights and Chartable (as their names suggest, different podcast-tech businesses yet).

These sums don’t include the reportedly substantial checks Spotify wrote to secure the since-combined Gimlet and Parcast or the undoubtedly tremendous expenditures behind lackluster podcasts.

Of course, Spotify’s hardly the only major company that’s squandered considerable capital and time on unwise purchases. But at least as Ek describes it, the days of indiscriminate investments are in the rearview, with a new focus on efficiency and profitability taking center stage moving forward.