Bad-ass in chief

When a major artist attacked Spotify's license to operate, CEO Daniel Ek publicly defended his business and his industry. Could your chief do the same?

Superstar singer Taylor Swift noisily pulled her songs off the music website Spotify, because she thinks the site screws artists. In response, Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has written a muscular blog post that defends the ethics of the company’s business model.

Despite difficulties and injustices that have plagued the music industry “since its inception,” Ek writes, Spotify is improving artists’ lot rather than worsening it. “We’re getting fans to pay for music again. We’re connecting artists to fans they would never have otherwise found, and we’re paying them for every single listen. We’re not just streaming, we’re mainstreaming now, and that’s good for music makers and music lovers around the world.”

Whether or not you agree with Ek’s analysis, it seems to me that every CEO who’s in an industry whose social license to operate, or even just its methods of operation, are being questioned, should be able, willing and eager to deliver an equally strong statement in self-defense.

It also seems to me that many CEO’s aren’t (able, willing, or eager) to do so.

Maybe their speechwriters should write that speech, even as an intellectual exercise. It couldn’t hurt the company or the industry. And it might just help. —DM

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