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Taylor Swift ‘1989’ album sales are a disaster for Spotify

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Taylor Swift’s record album sales of 1.28m units for ‘1989’ have delivered a knock-out blow to Spotify after her team pulled all her music from the service.

This was the biggest challenge to the service since its founding, with a major artist effectively declaring war against a streaming platform that doesn’t do a good enough job of paying artists.

With a stock valuation of $4 billion, Spotify is a world-leading service that streams music to millions of subscribers for a monthly fee (or free with ads). While the technology behind Spotify is to be much admired, the real problem is that it doesn’t make enough money for music artists, even with a 70% revenue share.

People used to buy albums for more than $10. Losing that revenue stream and replacing it with pennies has been devastating, particularly for independent artists.

To make matters more difficult for Spotify, Swift pulled all her music shortly before her album dropped making a clear, and bold statement to other artists and the industry as a whole : You don’t need Spotify to make money.

“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.” – Taylor Swift

At 24-years-old, Swift is one of America’s leading music artists and has a resounding influence among her peers but also behind-the-scenes in the industry.

Spotify immediately felt the pain and released a statement begging for her to come back.

Following her decision, we can expect other artists to look at alternatives. At the end of the day, the music industry has the upper-hand in content battles because the demand is created by artists, not by the delivery platforms. Let’s see where this goes. Will other artists pull their music off the digital shelf?

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