Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Is Richer Than Any Musician—Yes, Even Taylor Swift

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek worth more than any musician including Taylor Swift
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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek worth more than any musician including Taylor Swift
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Photo Credit: Spotify

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is now worth an estimated $4.9 billion—making him richer than any musician in history. Yes, even the musicians on Forbes’ billionaire list that includes Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Jay-Z.

On the Forbes billionaires list, Taylor Swift is the only musician to have gained her billionaire status from the sale of music alone. Both Rihanna and Jay-Z have highly successful side hustles that drove their billionaire status. Beyoncé is worth around $600-$800 million and her net worth is driven primarily by album sales, but she has not crossed the billionaire threshold yet.

An X/Twitter user has highlighted just how much more Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is worth from his music platform. “Did you know the CEO of Spotify is wealthier than any musician in history—and has 4X the net worth of Paul McCartney? Now you do. There’s more money in disrupting music than creating it,” the tweet reads.

The $4.9 billion estimate for Daniel Ek’s fortune comes from Forbes, who updates their list daily. Ek ranks #646 on the list. So how is that number calculated? Forbes says the value of an individuals’ public holdings are updated every five minutes when the stock market is open, while individuals with ties to private companies have their net worth updated once daily. A quick search of musicians on Forbes highlights the musicians I’ve already listed—Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Taylor Swift.

Jay-Z’s studio albums, touring, and merchandise tie-ins played their part in lining his pockets, but his business success has come from Roc Nation. The entertainment powerhouse is more than just a record label, providing artist management, music publishing, tour production, and more to artists under its wing. His sale of Tidal also contributed, as well as deals struck with high-end alcohol brands, investment in real estate, and venture capital.

Rihanna’s $1.4 billion empire comes from her music, fashion, and beauty endeavors. Her inclusive Fenty Beauty line launched in 2017 and has become one of the most successful endeavors a musician has undertaken, with $100 million in sales in the first 40 days of launch. Fenty Beauty itself is now worth a conservative $2.8 billion alone.

Taylor Swift is the only musical billionaire on the list to make the bulk of her fortune from her music and touring efforts. Her valuable discography, earnings from streaming deals, music sales, concert tickets, and merchandise sales helped Swift reach a net worth of $1.1 billion. Swift has her record-breaking ‘The Eras Tour’ to thank for propelling her to billionaire status as the first tour to gross over $1 billion in revenue.

For a regular musician hoping to get paid anything from Spotify, it takes about 334 streams to make $1. Spotify also changed how it pays out royalties to smaller artists, with songs needing to see 1,000 streams every 12 months to be eligible for a payout. Groups like United Musicians and Allied Workers have protested these changes, asking Spotify to establish a fairer royalty rate for how it pays artists on the platform.