Why You Gotta Be So Mean? Taylor Swift’s Decision To Dump Spotify

In the history of Taylor Swift’s relationships, this breakup seems to hurt the worst.  Following the record-breaking release of her new album 1989, our favorite 24 year-old superstar has (to our dismay) called it quits with Spotify and strangely enough, unlike any of her ex-beaus, Spotify is desperately pleading for Taylor to reconsider. As a college student with a limited budget, I like many others, scoured Spotify October 27th for a taste of what everyone was raving about, only to be met by this haunting line: “The artist or their representatives have decided not to release this album on Spotify. We are working on it and hope they will change their mind soon.” My heart dropped. Taylor, how could you do this to me?

Thirsty for the synthpop beats that I was so promised, I accepted defeat and carried on with my day. I figured I’d have to just wait it out; she’d come around eventually, right? Boy was I wrong. Like a child throwing a fit, Swift silently snatched her entire repertoire off of Spotify, leaving only one lone survivor; “Safe and Sound” from The Hunger Games Soundtrack. A good song, yes but I can only hit repeat so many times, Taylor.

Swift has vocalized many a time her opinion on the future of the music industry, promoting physical album sales, while discouraging online file sharing, such as piracy and even streaming; that’s nothing new. She even went so far as to publish an article with The Wall Street Journal this past summer stating, “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently.”

In case you missed it, 1989 has sold over one million copies.

1.287 million albums sold in the first week. The first week! I can’t help but think that Taylor is on to something here. Selling over one million records within the first week of being released is no easy feat. Actually, it hasn’t been done since roughly 2002. People just don’t buy actual records anymore, not with iTunes, Spotify, and even YouTube being a click away. So even though I was left feeling bummed about my seemingly “bar” from such a talked about album, I can’t help but feel a sense of respect for Taylor and her decision. A somewhat risky move, it paid off in a big way.

What does this mean for the future of Spotify? Who’s to say, but one thing’s for certain, where Taylor Swift goes, her fans are sure to follow. If you search “Taylor Swift” on Spotify, you are met with one measly song, and Spotify pleading for Taylor to #JustSayYes and return to them, alluding to her popular song “Love Story.” Their Twitter account is unfortunately just as tragic:

While Spotify does pay their artists royalties every time one of their songs is played, it only comes out to between $0.006 and $0.0084. Yikes. By choosing to keep 1989 off of Spotify, Taylor strategically drove up record sales, ultimately making a much more hefty profit. Can you blame her for being a savvy businesswoman, because I sure can’t?

With Taylor taking the plunge and departing from Spotify first, it will be interesting to see who follows in her footsteps. I guess the saying’s true: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Taylor seems to be handling the break up pretty well though. Maybe it’ll encourage another album. In the meantime, here’s to hoping that Spotify can “Shake It Off” soon. Sorry, couldn’t help myself with that one.