Music Business

Here’s Why Taylor Swift Dropped Spotify: $4 Million From YouTube

pile of moneyTaylor Swift pulling her music off Spotify and most other streaming music services was one of the top music industry stories of 2014. Swift and label yanked her music after Spotify refused to make her new music only available to paying subscribers. Swift said that she made art; and artists deserved to be properly compensated. Fair enough. But the unfortunate gaping hole in Swift's argument was that any fan could still listen to (and watch) her music for free on YouTube and Vevo

It turns out that Taylor Swift made a financially savvy decision.

taylor swiftAccording to analytics firm OpenSlate, who estimate YouTube earnings using a formula including total monthly views and subscriptions, Swift and company earned $4,110,788.52 based on 341711430 monthly views on her Vevo channel. Her new release “Blank Spaces” had over 250 million views.

That made Swifts channel one of the 10 most profitable YouTube channels of 2014, according to VentureBeat.

How Does This Compare To Income From Music Srreaming?

Of course these are just estimates. But I'd love to also see one from Spotify, Mark Mulligan or someone else – of just how this $.1 million compares to the amount Swift and her label would have also received if she'd also been on Spotify and other music streamers.

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  1. The flaw in your opinion that fans can still listen to Taylor Swift’s music on YouTube is you can’t listen to the whole 1989 album. Not unless someone illegally uploads the songs and those will eventually get yanked. If Spotify wants to put her radio singles on their service that wouldn’t be a problem. But they want to put the whole album up and let non-paying customers listen to the whole album. This is all on Spotify. Let the artists decide who can listen to what.

  2. Most label guys I’ve interviewed tell me that Spotify free streams pay about the same as YT. Presumably, not all of Swift’s Spotify streams were free, though, so she probably would have made more from the streams.
    I recently pre-published an article breaking down estimated per-stream rates for artists & composers from each major channel, which you can check out here: Based on these calculations, as artist and composer, T-Swift would have netted about $1.20 per thousand streams on Spotify, assuming the standard mix of free and pay.

  3. Spotify is going to just keep trying to discredit Taylor Swifts’ motives every chance they get.
    By the end of this year, Spotify will have to reposition their marketing campaign to reflect the loss of music from bands who choose to only have a couple of their songs on the service. Without the gatekeepers at Pandora, Interactive music streaming may become discovery radio after all.

  4. Ignorant people don’t know that spotify pays much, much more per stream than youtube.
    This was financially a very unsavvy decision: she would have made money from people who have neither listened to her on yout ube nor bought her CDs. (Who buys CDs nowadays? The lowest percentage of the population ever.)
    She left that money on the table and got nothing in return.
    Folks, the game has changed: streaming has won. That’s what the consumer has chosen. Streaming will eventually make much more money for big acts than CDs.
    And all the ignorant folks pesting against streaming revenue while this format is in its infant stage (and thereby slowing down its development), will eventually looks as bad as the people who wanted to forbid radio to play music or stick with shellacs to save their business model.

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