In case you missed it this month, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify for not just paying a pittance in royalties, but for streaming her music away to both paid and free users of its service.
She (and her US label, Big Machine) had tried negotiating for her music to play only for Spotify’s paid users.
Spotify declined, saying their free users are too important to their business plan. So Swift called their bluff.
“Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things,” said Swift last week in Time. “They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales.
“I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.”
Spotify initially tried to act all sad she broke up with them. She stood her ground. Then things got real: Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek last week said, “No free, no paid, no $2 billion” (speaking of total monies paid to music industry to date).
Swift clearly knows her stuff; her (montetized) YouTube hits have doubled since she pulled her music from the music streamer. (Seriously: she’s averaging 35 million YouTube views per day.)
Let’s hear what you think. Do protest moves like this only work if you’re not sweating for exposure? Or could her choice to shake off Spotify have positive ripple effects for other artists in the long run?