Jason Aldean Joining Taylor Swift in Pulling Music From Spotify
Swift's new album, '1989,' sold more than 1.2 million in the first week of release, making her the first artist in the history of SoundScan to sell more than a million in opening week three different times. Choosing not offer the tracks for individual streaming was part of the marketing plan to get to that number.
“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,” Swift says. “And I’m not wiling 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.”
According to Nashville's Tennessean newspaper, Aldean's latest album, 'Old Boots, New Dirt,' is expected to be removed from Spotify, where it set a new record for best-ever debut week for a country album with more than 3.04 million streams. The album also sold well, opening at No. 1 despite being available for streaming, but according to Aldean's label, it will no longer be available at Spotify. However, the rest of his catalog will remain for now.
Swift and Aldean are just two of the many artists who are struggling with how to navigate the impact of streaming services, which have grown more than 50 percent in the last year, while physical sales and paid downloads have continued to plummet.
Some advocates for services like Spotify view streaming as a way to make up for lost revenue from declining sales. Spotify offers consumers the choice to stream music for free with commercials, or pay five or ten dollars per month to avoid commercials and access special features. The service pays between 0.006 cents and 0.0084 cents for each stream, which critics have decried as far too low.
Still, Thirty Tigers President David Macias tells the Tennessean that if enough consumers subscribed to the service, it would balance out the revenue, pointing out the advantages of having almost any song available at any time without taking up room on consumers' phones or devices.
"It's a pretty great deal, and if this became the way that music was accessed by the majority of the consumers, then it's an economically viable way to do business. At 40 million U.S. subscribers, [Spotify] then would be generating $4.8 billion a year, and that still leaves a lot of consumers who want to consume under the acquisition model," he states. "It's also a better option than piracy."
Jon Loba, executive vice president of Aldaen's label, BBR Music Group, points out that the principal sales for a new project are in the initial weeks and months after it drops, and aligns himself with those who say the royalties from streaming aren't enough to compensate for the lost revenue from traditional sales when a new project is first released.
"There is a premium for 'brand new' -- movies, cars, clothes, everything else," Loba tells the Tennessean. "Why we devalue music, I don't know. I understand five years down the road -- potentially -- there will be enough streaming revenue to balance it out. In the meantime, how much revenue are we giving away?"
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