Taylor Swift recently made news when she pulled her new music from the popular streaming service Spotify. She wasn’t the first artist to take a stand and pull their material. The Black Keys pulled their “El Camino” album back in 2011, but it was only off the service for the first few months of its release. They clearly wanted strong sales and not many other artists have pulled material since.
Swift sold 1.2 million copies of “1989” in its first week. It is the first album this year to have eclipsed one million in sales…for the year!
There isn’t another artist that could have done this and survived. One could argue that she would have sold just as many or slightly less if she kept her music on Spotify. It could have went bad in a hurry, but she’s Taylor Swift and can do no wrong.
Techcrunch had an interesting article that stated Swift would make about $12 million dollars from Spotify over the next year. The math is a little weird, since it assumes that all listeners of Spotify pay the $10 monthly fee (some listen for free with sporadic commercial interruptions). Also, Swift wouldn’t get all of that money. Spotify revealed that they actually pay artists $0.006 per song stream. Swift would get millions of streams, so her year-end total could end around $12 million, but the figures Techcrunch used to come to their total isn’t correct.
Spotify isn’t perfect, but it isn’t for every artist. If Spotify replaced Napster in the early 00’s (with the same pay structure), there were at least a few dozen artists that wouldn’t have benefited from the service. I doubt NSYNC, Eminem and Britney Spears would need it. It’s true today, but with fewer artists. Katy Perry, Drake, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift might be the only artists that wouldn’t see a dip in sales due to streaming services.
Spotify has been a godsend to many indie bands. Record labels don’t have the blank checks they used to have for promotion and publicity. Hell, record labels don’t have the money to service most bands under contract. If you ask any indie band or artist if Spotify is useful, you would hear positive reviews. It helps bands sell tickets and merch…oh, and music too.
Taylor Swift is the music industry’s shining star. Let’s not let her set the standard of how to sell records in the 2010s. That business model hasn’t worked well since 1989…pun intended.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.