One of the longest-standing feuds in the music industry has ended. Taylor Swift on Friday decided to put her entire back catalog of music back on all of the major streaming services.
Swift said the end to her nearly three-year-long self-imposed exile from streaming services was in celebration of her 2014 album 1989 selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. We can also probably thank the Recording Industry Association of America’s certification of 100 million song sales by Swift for the move. It certainly doesn’t look like her choice to mostly abandon music streaming services hurt her sales.
The 27-year-old singer sent a shock through the music industry when she removed all of her music from Spotify in November 2014 after calling the streaming service a “grand experiment.” At the time, Swift’s biggest gripe with the leader in music subscription streaming was its free tier. “I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free,” Swift said in a November 2014 interview with Yahoo.
Spotify was not the only streaming service Swift was taking to task. Prior to Apple Music’s June 2015 debut, Swift made it clear she would not put her album 1989 on the streaming service if it planned to not pay artists’ royalties during its initial three-month trial period. In less than a week, Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddie Cue announced that rights holders will be paid royalties. As a result, Swift decided to put 1989 on Apple Music.
The landscape of music streaming has not changed that much since Swift mostly removed herself from it. Spotify still has its free tier, and its paid subscriber base has grown from 12 million in November 2014 to 50 million as of March 2017. Spotify recently had to pay a $20 million settlement for not obtaining the proper licensing to stream a large number of songs. The National Music Publishers’ Association estimates that up to 25 percent of all music streaming activity is unlicensed.
At least we get to listen to Welcome To New York on Spotify now.