As you may have heard, American sweetheart and creator of the only platinum-selling record of 2014 Taylor Swift yanked all of her music off Spotify earlier this week (save one song).
Bummer for Taylor Swift fans who don’t buy albums anymore.
Many have speculated as to why she made the move, but now she’s giving us the reason in her own words. In an interview with Yahoo Music, Swift said that she didn’t want to be part of Spotify’s “experiment” – and experiment which she feels in unfair to artists.
“[M]usic is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free,” she said.
But I think it’s really still up for debate whether this is actual progress, or whether this is taking the word “music” out of the music industry. Also, a lot of people were suggesting to me that I try putting new music on Spotify with “Shake It Off,” and so I was open-minded about it. I thought, “I will try this; I’ll see how it feels.” It didn’t feel right to me. I felt like I was saying to my fans, “If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it’s theirs now and they don’t have to pay for it.” I didn’t like the perception that it was putting forth. And so I decided to change the way I was doing things.
If you read her July op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, none of this should be a surprise. Swift has been talking shit about Spotify for a while now.
In that piece she lumped piracy and streaming into the same category, saying,
“Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently … music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. 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.”
Meanwhile, Swift’s new album 1989 sold 1.287 million copies in it first week – making it the bestselling album of 2014 by a mile.
“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,” said Spotify of her decision.
Swift is nowhere near the only artist to have beef with Spotify – but her position as an incredibly popular one among younger generations makes her decision to go against the stream that much more interesting.
Image via Taylor Swift, Instagram