Will Taylor Swift and Spotify Ever, Ever, Ever Get Back Together?
Spotify certainly hopes so. After being pressured publicly by Spotify to release her newest album, 1989, to streaming, Taylor Swift not only denied them the album, she removed her entire back catalogue of music from the platform. Some say it's a strategic business move, others say its a brash decision in a ploy to make more money – but no matter which side of that fence you stand on, this decision has sparked a conversation within and about the music industry that is worthy of significant consideration.
Swift wrote an op-ed, appearing the Wall Street Journal this past July sharing her thoughts on the music industry's current state. “Piracy, file sharing, and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently,” said Swift. “It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
Swift isn't the first artist to pull her music from streaming. Beyonce boldly made the move to keep her surprise album (dropped December 2013) off of Spotify to help drive sales – and that it did. In fact, it shattered the Apple iTunes record, selling 828,773 albums in three days time. Beyonce opted to leave her back catalogue in place on Spotify, but perhaps set the stage for more moves like Swift chose to make this week.
If more artists catch the buy-only bug, Spotify may needs to brace itself for more heartbreak, or change it's tune. Spotify released this statement, perhaps better regarded as a plea, in a desperate attempt to get Swift to reconsider:
We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists.
We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.
PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.
Whether or not Taylor will strike a deal with Spotify has yet to be determined, so until than, Spotify is attempting to ease it's woes and the woes of its users by with their curation of two new playlists – "Come Back, Taylor" and "What To Play While Taylor's Away."
At this rate, if Spotify is truly putting their best foot forward in their subliminal messaging, they better keep adding more songs to the latter playlist.