The music industry is about to enter "a golden age", according to Spotify founder Daniel Ek.
The CEO is convinced that Spotify's integration to social networks will help fans engage with music like never before, which in turn will encourage music sales.
Ek was addressing complaints that Spotify can harm traditional music sales by offering fans a cheap alternative to paying the full price for an album. "There's not a shred of data to suggest that," he told Grammy.com. "In fact, all the information available points to streaming services helping to drive sales. Album unit sales were up in the U.S. In 2011, the year Spotify launched, for the first time since 2004."
He adds that more than a dozen albums which debuted at the top of the Billboard chart were available on Spotify at launch.
Keen-eyed readers will notice the tact of Ek's choice of words, which only refers to currently available evidence. He does not specifically deny the complaints.
Regarding Spotify's social integration, Ek notes that he looks at sharing as a "really, really important for our business. We've found that the more social our users are, the faster they grow their own music library. And the faster they grow their music library, the faster they become paying customers."
He continued: "Personally speaking, I am more bullish on the future of the music industry than ever before, and I think we're kind of entering a golden age in music."
Despite accusations of poor royalty payouts for artists, and acts like Coldplay and Adele refusing to stream their newest albums at launch, it is hard to dispute that Spotify is becoming a legal haven for music fans. In turn, it has generated a new income stream for a once damaged industry.
"Spotify users are helping pay a ton of money back to the industry," Ek said. "You're talking 10 million active users, 2.5 million subscribers - most of them paying $120 (76) a year, which is double the amount of your average iTunes user."