The popular music streaming service Spotify has caused some serious issues after criticizing Taylor Swift for the delay in making 1989, her latest studio album, available to subscribers for free streaming without ads (if they pay the monthly subscription fee).
The public finger-pointing, and harassment of Swift, resulted in her management company, Big Machine Records, pulling all of her albums from Spotify with no word as to whether or not they’ll ever replace them (or add 1989).
Taylor Swift has been extremely verbal about music royalties and the earnings of artists and rights holders. Currently, depending on number of subscribers and the location of the listener, Spotify pays around 0.006 and 0.0084 per stream. While that may seem rather pitiful compared to the full price of an album, nearly 16 million people are listening to her every 30 days, and she’s on 19 million playlists. It adds up.
Spotify stated that due to a "decision by the artist," 1989 wasn’t available to stream on its service or on Pandora, another streaming platform in which users can pay around $5 a month for ad-free, infinite-skip listening.
Swift said earlier this year that art is important and valuable, and it should be paid for. There’s no industry standard for pricing services like Spotify and Pandora, but it goes without saying that angering artists who delay offering albums for substantially less isn’t the best way to promote yourself to other musicians.
There’s no word on whether Swift will add her albums back to the streaming service, but it’s safe to say that Spotify will have to do some serious damage control in order to bring her back to her 2 million Spotify followers.
Spotify has started a small campaign on Twitter in order to get back on Swift’s good side, but it seems that tweets such as...
Aren’t going to get the job done in the way that a professional apology would.
Swift isn’t the only one to pull a move like this. In fact, according to Mashable, last year Radiohead pulled all of their albums in a similar gesture, stating that the pay model for services such as this "just doesn’t work."
Most musicians find that because of the measely pay that Spotify gives back to artists, it’s tough to offer albums to streamers for free, or even for the subscription price. Spotify prides itself on giving back to artists at all, saying that almost all of its revenue goes directly back in to the music community; but apparently artists don’t feel that way.
Taylor Swift (and her company) may have overreacted to Spotify’s poking. However, it seems Spotify crossed a line by being so needy for freebies. What is clear is that calling her out in such a way, and then offering cheeky tweets instead of an official apology isn’t the best way to bring her back to a service, which Swift doesn’t seem particularly fond of anyway.
Image courtesy of Hitfix.com.