I was as anxious as anyone to see if it would appear on Spotify.
Of course, like every girl between the ages of 13-28, I’m talking about Taylor Swift’s 1989, which is the first album of hers I’ve really connected with. It could be the love letter to New York, the ridiculously astute observation regarding boys, love and torture, or the blatant call-out of a fellow female performer re: catty behavior.
To backtrack a bit, I’m a bit strange when it comes to music consumption; while I rarely buy a physical CD, I am constantly downloading full albums, and am obsessive when it comes to building the best work-day Spotify playlists. I don’t pay for Spotify Premium because I don’t mind listening to ads, but I only listen to the full albums I’ve purchased while I’m sleeping because I hate the tinny quality of my iPhone’s sound.
The one constant with my consumption is that the artists are paid. Having worked in the industry and having maintained friendships with acts of all sizes over the years, I know just how important royalties are; however, I also know that artists tend not to be well-compensated by streaming services. Gone are the days when a popular act was guaranteed a platinum record; now, touring and merchandise are vital to the financial health of an act, with streaming (depending upon the platform and the stream volume) providing only fractions of a penny per stream.
Do I think Taylor Swift is hurting financially? Obviously not. But she’s setting an important precedent for artists who may be.
Because just as man cannot live on bread alone, artists can’t support themselves by relying upon streaming. And so I completely agree with and support Taylor’s decision to remove her back catalog from Spotify. Don’t get me wrong – I still love the service; however, if artists encouraging people to purchase at market value helps to boost a sagging industry, then I’ll gladly purchase my favorite artists’ albums.
Would I prefer from a convenience standpoint to have full access to any song I want, whenever I want? Of course. Would I rather my favorites are no longer able to record because of the missed album royalties that come from streaming? Absolutely not.