Spotify CEO’s Controversial Comment About The ‘Close To Zero’ Cost Of Making Music Has Deadmau5 Threatening To Pull His Catalog


In case you missed it: In late May, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek shared a statement in which he described the “cost of creating content” as being “close to zero.” His comments were more likely about the barrier to entry being lower than it has before than it was about devaluing or underestimating the resources is takes to create music. Still, what he said rubbed people the wrong way.

That includes Deadmau5, who caught wind of the quote a few days ago and wrote on Instagram, “Incorrect. The cost of creating content was 25+ years of my life and much of those proceeds going to your company you complete f*cking idiot.” In response to a comment about hating Spotify, he responded (as NME notes), “I feel that, I’m about to pull my catalog from these f*cking vultures, enough’s enough.”

In the comments, Dutch DJ Leroy Styles went long outlining some of the costs involved with making music:

“This is crazy. It’s almost zero or a couple of zeros!!

Here’s a breakdown of some of the costs.

High-Performance Laptop for Music Production
For a high-performance laptop suitable for music production, consider models such as:

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Max, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD): Around $3,499
Dell XPS 17 (32GB RAM, 2TB SSD): Around $3,000
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (32GB RAM, 1TB SSD): Around $3,999
Total Estimated Cost
Adding up these costs, assuming no sales or discounts:

VST Plugins:

Omnisphere: $499
Komplete 14 Ultimate: $1,599
Waves Mercury: $7,599
UAD Ultimate: $4,999
EastWest ComposerCloud X: $239.88/year
FabFilter Total Bundle: $899
iZotope Everything Bundle: $1,999
Soundtoys 5 Bundle: $499
Arturia V Collection: $599
Slate Digital All Access Pass: $179.88/year
Total for Plugins: $18,910.76 + $419.76/year

And then your time making music. Recording Studio Time:

Professional studios can charge from $50 to $500+ per hour.
Producer Fees:

Producers might charge per track or hour, ranging from $300 to $10,000+ depending on their reputation and experience.
Session Musicians:

Rates can range from $50 to $500+ per hour or per song.
Mixing and Mastering:

Mixing engineers typically charge $200 to $1,000+ per track.
Mastering can cost between $50 to $500+ per track.
Equipment and Software:

Purchasing or renting instruments, microphones, and recording software can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Promotion and Distribution:

Digital distribution services (like DistroKid, TuneCore) can charge $20 to $50+ per year.
Marketing campaigns, including social media ads, can range from $100 to $10,000+.
Miscellaneous Costs:

Travel, lodging, and other incidental expenses can add up.
Overall, the total cost to produce a single song can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, while a full album can cost significantly more. My 1st album has cost me 18k euro.

And don’t forget your time!!”

Ek responded to the original wave of backlash in early June, writing, “I understand how it came across as very reductive and that wasn’t my intent. Just to clarify – my original point was not to devalue the time, effort, or resources involved in creating meaningful works, whether it’s music, literature, or other forms of creative expression. […] The significant drop in the cost of creation tools (microphones, laptops, cameras) has led to an unprecedented explosion in the volume of what people are able to produce.”