Daniel Ek, 34
In 2014, Ek looked like a marked man. That was the year pop star Taylor Swift pulled her music from the streaming service over concerns about royalties, sparking furious discussion about the sustainability of its business model. Fast-forward to 2017: Swift is back on Spotify, which now counts more than 50 million paying customers, and the company is renegotiating royalty rates as it plows toward an IPO. Today a majority of music consumption in the U.S., some $4 billion in sales and growing, occurs via streaming. One big reason? Daniel Ek.
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