Taylor Swift is shaking off her opposition to Spotify and other streaming services.
The singer plans to restore her catalog in full to Spotify, Pandora, and other platforms starting on Friday, a source familiar with the situation confirmed. Swift originally pulled out of the streaming services in 2014 over qualms with how the companies pay artists.
Each of Swift’s five albums will be available across all of the industry’s major services, including smaller contenders Tidal and Amazon.
A rep for Swift said in a statement to the Associated Press that her grand return was timed to celebrate a milestone in sales of her Grammy-winning album “1989.”
“In celebration of 1989 selling over 10 Million Albums Worldwide and the RIAA’s 100 Million Song Certification announcement, Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services tonight at midnight,” the statement said.
That may only be part of the story. As with all things Taylor-related, there’s also a major shade angle here.
That is, arch-nemesis Katy Perry also just so happens to be dropping her latest album, Witness, at midnight as well.
Surely that news simply slipped Swift’s mind when she decided to lob her own competing bombshell at the exact same time.
“Music is art, and art is important and rare”
Swift has long been one of the biggest critics of the streaming industry’s business practices.
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable,” she wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the subject in 2014. “Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.”
The criticism of free music was a big sticking point with Spotify in particular. The company is the word’s biggest music streaming service and the only major one to offer an ad-supported free tier.
Swift’s return means that more than half of Spotify’s 100 million users will now have free access to Swift’s hits.
Swift already made peace with Apple Music two years ago after she hashed out a high-profile beef with the company that ultimately compelled it to pay artist royalties during a six-month initial free trial period.
As probably the biggest star to adamantly boycott the new technology, Swift’s about-face could have wider implications for the music industry at large. It signals a growing consensus among artists acknowledging the fact that cooperation with the companies is an inescapable part of modern music marketing.