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Spotify to Taylor Swift: Free Music Makes You Millions

Spotify has always been dogged by criticism that it doesn’t provide a sustainable way for musicians to make money.

Getting dumped by Taylor Swift in protest of paltry royalties delivered particular sting. Swift dominates the public conversation like almost no other pop star, and most high-profile critics of streaming music tend to be on the downslope of their careers.

If Spotify loses Taylor, it’s losing the future. To prevent that fate, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek posted a lengthy defense of Spotify’s business model on Tuesday.

He sees the alternative to legitimate streaming as additional piracy, not more album sales. Spotify has paid $2 billion to artists since its inception, according to the latest numbers from Ek in Tuesday’s post.

In December, Spotify said it had paid out $500 million in 2013 and $1 billion in total, meaning that the amount it has paid to artists is on pace to more than double this year.