Just days ago, Taylor Swift shook off Spotify. The star opted not to leave her new album off of the service and pulled the rest of her catalog. Lucky for us, Yahoo caught up with the globe-trotting star during a promotional tour in Japan for more insight on the matter. As you might expect, she echoed the sentiment shared by some of her fellow musicians: streaming services don't adequately compensate artists and the rest of the folks who have a hand in making albums. What's more, Swift goes on to call Spotify and similar offerings "experiments," and she isn't "willing to contribute my life's work" to those outfits that don't properly pay up. Spotify, for example, has been around since 2008, so we're a bit beyond the honeymoon phase. Subscription-based and ad-supported music streaming has taken root in our lives, and it's not leaving anytime soon unless there's some kind of drastic change.
She's also well aware of the example she's setting. And being the popular role model that she is, Swift doesn't want folks thinking it's okay to give their hard work away for free. In the end though, streaming her music apparently just didn't feel right. "But I think it's really still up for debate whether this is actual progress, or whether this is taking the word "music" out of the music industry," Swift explains. Of course, Swift's previous releases are available elsewhere, and Rdio reaffirmed its commitment to artist choice today, while boasting that the star's back catalog can still be streamed there. If you're after the full quote from the interview, it's just below. Oh yeah, Swift's new album 1989 sold well over a million albums in its first week.
If I had streamed the new album, it's impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free. I wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this summer that basically portrayed my views on this. I try to stay really open-minded about things, because I do think it's important to be a part of progress. But I think it's really still up for debate whether this is actual progress, or whether this is taking the word "music" out of the music industry. Also, a lot of people were suggesting to me that I try putting new music on Spotify with "Shake It Off," and so I was open-minded about it. I thought, "I will try this; I'll see how it feels." It didn't feel right to me. I felt like I was saying to my fans, "If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it's theirs now and they don't have to pay for it." I didn't like the perception that it was putting forth. And so I decided to change the way I was doing things.
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