I can’t think of a more uncomfortable three-way than the contradictory relationship between music artists, streaming services, and the music listeners who pay everyone’s bills. Between streaming services trying in vain to keep costs down, listeners trembling at the thought of increasing prices, and the music industry’s million-dollar music artists dreaming that the value their work justifies multi-million dollar payouts per music project, it’s no wonder torrent downloads are beginning to climb. Such was the case with Taylor Swift who pushed aside her “I love the whole world!” image today and pulled not only her newest album (1989), but *all* of her albums from Spotify’s popular streaming service. As would be expected (you gotta wonder what these artists are thinking), torrent downloads of her album surged. One of the singles from her new album has over two thousand seeds while her newest album in its entirety has several hundred seeds (albeit both significantly less in number than other more “nerdy” bands).
Spotify played it off in typical easy-going Spotify-fashion and posted the following on their website:
“We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more — nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists.
We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.
PS — Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.”
Swift executed the same tactic in 2012 when she refused to release her “Red” album on Spotify (but relented a few months later). Her newest album, 1989, is rated four-stars on Amazon and in yet another head-scratching move by the music labels, sells for $9.99 for the CD (postage included) or uh, $12.49 for the digital download. For some reason, music labels forget streaming revenue is generated for life while digital downloads are a one-time sale. Meanwhile, paying no attention to Stephen Hawking’s infamous quote (“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity”), the music priestess herself thought the moment opportune to announce her new 2014 concert tour with tickets ranging in price from $60 for nose-bleeder seats up to $1,007 per person for floor seats (via TicketNetwork, December 5, 2014, Floor 1-3 in LA). Go figure.