Hey did you hear the news? Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify. First let's read Spotify's sugary sweet blog post lamenting the fact.
We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists.
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.
PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.
If you read between the lines it's "Holy shit you are costing us a lot of money, wtf." More than 40 million people want you to stay, stay, stay. But those 40 million people ain't paying the bills, with your paltry royalty rates, baby. When it comes to making a sustainable living through royalties, The math doesn't add up. It's why Thom Yorke pulled his solo music complaining "new artists get paid fuck all with this model." It's also why The Black Keys haven't put their two most recent albums up on Spotify either.
So why is Swift doing this? Simple--because she can. And she's one of the only artists out there who can. According to The Verge:
Swift and her label are in the extremely uncommon position of having the power to pull this off and likely benefit from it. As of November 1st, 1989 was on track to have the biggest first-week album sales since 2002 and set a new record for first-week sales by a female artist (Britney Spears' Oops!… I Did It Again holds the record, set in 2000), according to Billboard. Breaking those records would require 1989 to sell 1.3 million copies before today, which it was forecasted to do. Billboard says that the sales figures won't be released until November 5th, but the existing numbers make it clear that Swift is dominating stores right now.
Taylor Swift has already voiced her thoughts on this in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, so it shouldn't come as such a surprise.
Either way, It's really simple to understand. If you put your catalog on a streaming service where people have the free option, people will take the free option, and your albums will not sell. Get it? Taylor Swift is flipping the bird at Spotify. Considering Spotify's royalty rates are between $0.006 and $0.0084 per play let's hope more bands follow Taylor Swift's lead.