This news has been spreading exponentially for a week, mostly because Taylor Swift is a famous, popular icon today. She believes Spotify is not good for artists because they do not pay adequately for music.
This assertion will be substantiated or debunked depending on who you read and what you choose to believe. I went to the sources — Taylor Swift interviewed by Yahoo about Spotify; and Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek’s, blog post about Taylor Swift. Everything else written is speculation and analysis. Inform yourself and decide using the facts:
Taylor Swift, in part, says,
“… all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And 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. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s narrative lays out many facts, figures and perceptions including,
“Myth number two: Spotify pays, but it pays so little per play nobody could ever earn a living from it. First of all, let’s be clear about what a single stream – or listen – is: it’s one person playing one song one time. So people throw around a lot of stream counts that seem big and then tell you they’re associated with payouts that sound small. But let’s look at what those counts really represent. If a song has been listened to 500 thousand times on Spotify, that’s the same as it having been played one time on a U.S. radio station with a moderate sized audience of 500 thousand people. Which would pay the recording artist precisely … nothing at all. But the equivalent of that one play and its 500 thousand listens on Spotify would pay out between three and four thousand dollars. The Spotify equivalent of ten plays on that radio station – once a day for a week and a half – would be worth thirty to forty thousand dollars.”
Daniel Ek goes on to say Spotify’s “whole business is to maximize the value of your music. We don’t use music to drive sales of hardware or software. We use music to get people to pay for music.” If you look deeper into this comment, you will see how it attacks some of the biggest tech companies today, namely Apple and Google.
Curiously, Taylor Swift has not allowed Beats Music to stream her current album “1989” but has left her previous albums up for streaming. It appears her back catalog plays on services that are subscription only or are internet radio services.
Bob Lefsetz’s analysis cuts through the noise concluding:
“Taylor Swift wasn’t bitching that Spotify wasn’t getting her music to more fans, but that it was making her less cash.”