On June 9, 2017, Taylor Swift broke with her ban against streaming services by returning her catalog to platforms such as Spotify. All five of her albums are now available to stream on that service along with Amazon, Tidal, Pandora and other platforms. The move follows a decision in 2014 upon the release of her blockbuster album 1989 to pull all music due to low royalties paid out.
In 2014, Swift removed all music from streaming platforms with the exception of singles. Upon the launch of Apple Music in 2015, the company decided against paying royalties during the three-month trial period. It was Swift and her strong words through an open letter that convinced the tech and music giant to reconsider its plan and in the end, she prevailed and Apple Music acquired exclusive rights to stream 1989.
Swift blocked her music from being on streaming services to stress the importance of purchasing music, or "art" as she so often referred it to. Royalties paid out to artists, especially songwriters, have been scrutinized as labels strike deals to bring in more revenue. While the industry as a whole is benefiting from streaming having its first double-digit growth numbers in decades, artists continue to be on the low end of the deal and Swift became an advocate for treating musicians fairly. Many of the issues are still not resolved and may take an act of Congress to correct the rights of songwriters and artists in the era of streaming.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 may see a bump on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in the coming week thanks to being available on widespread streaming services. During its initial run, it spent 11 non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart after debuting with 1.287 million U.S. copies sold in its opening frame. That made Swift the only artist with three albums to sell more than 1 million in a single week (Speak Now and Red also debuted with over 1 million copies sold). It would go on to become the fifth album in history to spend its first year in the top 10 on the albums chart and was the fastest 5 million seller in a decade.
To date, 1989 has sold 10 million copies worldwide and Swift has sold over 100 million songs, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Listen to the deluxe edition of 1989 below:
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