by Andy Gensler , Ed Christman
When Taylor Swift’s entire back catalog returned to streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Amazon on June 8 (it was already on the subscription-only Apple Music), she posted a note on her Taylor Nation Instagram account saying the move was in “celebration” of her album 1989 selling over 10 million albums worldwide and hitting the RIAA’s 100 million song certification milestone.
In November 2014, however, when she decided to remove her catalog from Spotify, Swift’s record label Big Machine wrote in a blog post, “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.”
The issue of piracy hasn’t changed since that post was written nearly three years ago but the streaming market has. At the time Spotify was paying $0.0009, or one-seventh the rate that its premium subscriber tier paid, which is $0.0063. Swift also enjoyed the benefit of physical sales, so she didn’t want her album to appear on the ad-sponsored tier, but was okay with it appearing on the paid Spotify tier. That way her sales and premium plays, and thus the overall revenue and her royalties, wouldn’t be cannibalized by the much lower paying ad-sponsored tier.