Taylor Swift Explains Why She Pulled Her Music From Spotify
Swift just became the first artist in the history of SoundScan to sell more than a million copies of a new album in its opening week three different times. Her new album, '1989' -- which marks her first official foray into pop -- sold more than 1.2 million in the first week of release, and she says not offering the tracks piecemeal for streaming was part of her thought process in reaching that goal.
"If I had streamed the new album, it's impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music 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," Swift tells Yahoo! Music. "And I'm not wiling 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."
Many artists take issue with Spotify over its business model, which they feel pays tiny royalties against massive plays. According to Time, artists earn on average less than one cent per play on Spotify, between $0.006 and $0.0084.
Swift spoke out against that model in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in July, writing, “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently.”
She tells Yahoo! that while she recognizes the music business model is changing, she's not sure it's a step in the right direction.
"I try to stay really open-minded about things, because I do think it's important to be a part of progress," she observes. "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."
It's also important to Swift to work in an album-length format, which she likens to writing a novel as opposed to a series of short stories.
"Albums defined my childhood, and they've defined my life," she states. "I just hope that they will continue to define people in newer generations' lives. I'm so proud of my fans for going out there, over a million strong, and proving that albums still matter to them and that art is still viable to them."
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