Pop star Taylor Swift has announced that her music will once again be featured on streaming service Spotify. This marks her first return to the service since November 2014. The bad blood between Swift and Spotify stemmed from the artist’s claim that streaming services offered inadequate compensation to musicians. Swift also wanted to have more control over her own music. The Verge reports that Swift is making the decision to begin again her relationship with Spotify to commemorate 10 million copies sold of her album 1989. It is unclear whether this is the sole driver of her decision, or whether the landscape of the streaming environment has changed sufficiently for Swift to reconsider. She had previously hosted her music on streaming services Tidal and Apple Music. Apple Music initially had a royalty agreement that did not favor artists, but they reversed their position after pressure from major artists, according to The Verge.
Consumers’ Research reported in 2015 on Swift’s decision. At the time, Spotify paid artists 6 to 8 cents per song streamed. Intellectual property is a vital part of the economy, and Swift, like many other companies and content producers, was making a move to protect her intellectual property and the revenue that comes with it. Musicians, drug companies, inventors, and a myriad of other producers may be dissuaded from creating if they know what they make may not be properly protected from pirates or reproductions. Those who create must also know that they will be able to be rewarded for their work. At the time, Swift decided she would not “Shake It Off” when it came to Spotify’s royalty system.
In a July 2014 opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal, Swift gave her thoughts on the state of the music industry at the time. She said:
Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently…In recent years, you’ve probably read the articles about major recording artists who have decided to practically give their music away, for this promotion or that exclusive deal. My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet…is that they all realize their worth and ask for it.
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. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.
Swift fans have likely for years wished she would return her music library to Spotify, as her absence left a blank space in the service’s library. Now, they will again have a chance to listen to their favorite artist.
Image Source: Spotify Press Kit