For years, tech companies have been trying to break the recording industry’s stranglehold on the music business. Swedish entrepreneur Daniel Ek, the founder of streaming music service Spotify, has come the closest (after Apple’s iTunes, of course.) Ek, who started his first company at age 14, was previously CEO of µTorrent, one of the world’s most popular BitTorrent clients.
As of March 2013, Spotify, which is valued at more than $3 billion, had over 24 million users, including 6 million who pay for the premium ad-free version of the service. The company has now paid out over $500 million to rights-holders, but the company still faces periodic criticism that it doesn’t fairly compensate artists. Ek, 30, has a net worth estimated at more than $300 million.