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Friday, June 9, 2017
Taylor Swift Returns Her Music Catalog to Streaming Services
Taylor Swift is returning her music catalog to streaming services, ending the digital music world’s highest-profile feud and affirming that streaming is now the dominant music format.
On Thursday evening, Ms. Swift’s management announced on Twitter that since her latest album, “1989,” has now sold 10 million copies around the world, she “wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services tonight at midnight.” TUPAC TRAILER
For Spotify in particular, Ms. Swift’s return has great symbolic significance. Shortly after she released “1989,” in October 2014, Ms. Swift removed her entire catalog from Spotify, saying later, “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.”
It was the highest-profile protest at a moment when many artists were highly suspicious of streaming, and concerned that the new format would erode their sales of CDs and downloads.
The next year, Ms. Swift battled publicly with Apple over the introduction of Apple Music, Spotify’s streaming competitor. Her public criticism led the company to change its royalty policy overnight. Believe Digital: Seeks Sale
But Ms. Swift’s return is a sign of the dominance of streaming, and of its maturation as an essential part of the music business, from the marketing of singles to the industry’s sales figures. In March, the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group, reported that in 2016 streaming services generated $3.9 billion in sales in the United States, representing 51 percent of revenues.
Spotify, which operates both free and paid tiers, had for years staunchly refused requests from record labels and artists — including, apparently, Ms. Swift — to restrict music to its paid levels, which pay higher royalties. But this year, in a renegotiation with the Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music conglomerate, Spotify agreed to let labels put new music only on the paid tier for limited periods, in exchange for lower royalty rates.
Ms. Swift’s music is returning to all major streaming services, including Spotify, Amazon and Google Play, and will be on both free and paid levels of Spotify. (Her music is already on Apple Music, which has also financed a concert film for her and put her in commercials.)