Daniel Ek, CEO of music-streaming service Spotify, has become the first boss of a major tech company to publicly throw his weight behind the #MeToo movement against male abuse of power.
“#MeToo is a real thing,” he told POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast. “Personally, I highly recommend and support all the women that are coming forward with these stories and I’m appalled [at] how widespread this is,” he said. “It’s giving me room to think and reflect on the fact that we have a lot to do as men: what kind of work environments and the level of standards we’re setting.”
Ek wants to build on the debate generated by the #MeToo movement to tackle one of the tech sector’s deepest structural problems: male dominance.
“There’s so much bullshit being used by people like me [tech CEOs] in terms of saying ‘oh, well, there’s not enough females in technology so we can’t be gender balanced.’ That’s bullshit,” he said.
Ek said Spotify is on a long-term mission to weed out gender-biased practices in the company. “We have a lot more work to do,” he said, adding that the company no longer allows gender and age to be listed on job applications.
Women don’t get an equal opportunity to make it in the music world, Ek believes.
“We’re part of a project called the Equalizer Project that highlights the fact that of the top 100 songs right now only nine are written by females. We are promoting female songwriters and we’re working with Max Martin and many other superstar songwriters and producers to educate.”
Ek said he only realized “how unfair the world is” when he became a father to two daughters. He said that even in feminist Sweden girls grow up bombarded by “immediate stereotyping” including his daughters assuming they are weaker than boys their own age.