Spotify nemesis Taylor Swift ends streaming boycott

17:34 | 09/06/2017
NEW YORK: Once Spotify's most visible critic, pop superstar Taylor Swift on Friday returned her music to all streaming services as the number of artists to boycott the booming format dwindles.
Singer Taylor Swift arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 28, 2016. Photo source: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

All of the 27-year-old singer's music including 1989, her blockbuster last album, appeared on Spotify and other platforms at midnight on the US East Coast (12pm Singapore time).

Swift's management said the move was meant to mark 1989 hitting 10 million sales worldwide and certification that the teen country music prodigy turned pop sensation had sold 100 million singles in the United States.

"Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services," it said in a statement.

When she released 1989 in late 2014, Swift refused to put it on Spotify, by far the largest streaming service, and yanked her entire catalog off it.

Swift accused Spotify of devaluing artists by essentially giving music away for free, pointing to the platform's advertising-backed tier that gives access to non-subscribers.

The feud brought a defensive reaction from the Swedish company which argued that it was a rare source of growth in the long-beleaguered music industry.

Spotify says it paid back US$5 billion to songs' copyright holders as of September 2016, the last time it updated the figure it had given in response to Swift.

But much has changed even in the two-and-a-half years since Swift's row with Spotify.

Streaming - which offers unlimited, on-demand music online - has soared as a format, led by a growth in paid subscriptions.

Streaming revenue grew worldwide by more than 60 per cent last year alone, according to the IFPI trade body.

Most other major Western artists who refused to stream their music have relented, including the estates of late pop icon Prince and The Beatles and country music giant Garth Brooks.

But the timing of Swift's return to streaming services raises eyebrows - her music went online at the exact moment that fellow pop mega-star Katy Perry released her new album Witness.

The two artists have a barely concealed rivalry. Perry's latest album features the song Swish Swish in which she boasts of her success to a rival - presumably Swift - accused of bad-mouthing her.

Swift's move could potentially hurt Perry in closely watched first-week sales. With significant overlap between their fan bases, some listeners who would have played Witness on repeat may spend time exploring Swift's music on Spotify instead.

AFP/ REUTERS

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