"1989" by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift takes music off Spotify, reflects trend in industry

By Jessica Fischberg

To the horror of Spotify junkies and “Swifties” alike, Taylor Swift removed all of her music from the streaming app earlier this month.

The move followed the Oct. 27 release of Swift’s fifth studio album “1989,” which sold about 1.3 million copies in its first week, according to Billboard.

"1989" by Taylor Swift
“1989” by Taylor Swift

In a Yahoo interview, Swift expressed these types of subscription music-sharing apps do not fairly compensate artists in the industry.

Daniel Ek, the chief executive officer of Spotify, responded to Swift’s accusations in a post on the site’s blog.

“When I hear stories about artists and songwriters who say they’ve seen little or no money from streaming and are naturally angry and frustrated, I’m really frustrated too,” Ek said in a statement. “The music industry is changing – and we’re proud of our part in that change – but lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist. As I said, we’ve already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that’s a big problem.”

Although Swift has removed her music from Spotify, her songs still remain on Pandora, a similar music-streaming system.

On Spotify, the user chooses to listen to a playlist that only contains music from a specific artist, while Pandora will create a playlist with automated recommendations.

Pandora users can create a Taylor Swift album, but must also listen to other songs by artists that Pandora deems similar to Swift.

“The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores,” Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta told Time magazine. “Don’t forget this is for the most successful artist in music today. What about the rest of the artists out there struggling to make a career? Over the last year, what Spotify has paid is the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold.”

Borchetta also claims Swift has made less than $500,000 in the last year from domestic streaming of her music.

Ek, however, estimated Swift could have earned $6 million from Spotify this coming year.

Taylor Swift’s small action of taking her music off Spotify has brought up many controversial issues regarding the monetary value of music.

Many artists have spoken out in support of Swift’s decision.

Swift’s “1989” sales have dramatically increased since she removed her music from Spotify, and may reflect a industry-wide change in music-streaming systems.


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