Skip to main content

Billy Bragg Says Taylor Swift Sold Her Soul to Google, Her Reps Claim She Didn’t

Billy Bragg is calling BS on Taylor Swift's highly publicized decision to pull her music from Spotify, saying she's just simply chosen one streaming service over another, after seeing Swift's music…

Outspoken English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg is calling BS on Taylor Swift‘s highly publicized decision to pull her music from Spotify, saying she’s just simply chosen one streaming service over another. After seeing that some of Swift’s music is YouTube’s new Music Key subscription service, Bragg wrote a damning post on Facebook Tuesday calling out the pop star. 

Dave Grohl on Spotify Debate: ‘I Don’t Care If You Pay $1 or $20 for Our Music’


“What a shame that Taylor Swift’s principled stand against those who would give her music away for free has turned out to be nothing more than a corporate power play,” he said. “On pulling her music from Spotify recently, she made a big issue of the fact that the majority of the streaming service’s users listen to her tracks for nothing rather than signing up to the subscription service.”

Bragg quoted Swift’s statement last week that stated, “I don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free,” and said these “worthy sentiments” have been “somewhat undermined” by Swift including her music on Music Key, which offers listeners a free service option as well as a premium subscription tier just as Spotify does. 

Taylor Swift Earned Less Than $500,000 From Spotify This Year, Label Boss Says

“Given that this year is the first to fail to produce a new million selling album, I can understand Taylor Swift wanting to maximise her opportunities with the new record – and it worked: she shifted 1.28m copies of 1989 in the first week of sale,” he continued. “But she should just be honest with her fans and say ‘sorry, but Sergey Brin gave me a huge amount of money to be the headline name on the marquee for the launch of You Tube Music Key and so I’ve sold my soul to Google.'”

But according to one of Swift’s reps, Bragg’s claims are untrue. A spokesperson told NME in response, “Taylor Swift has had absolutely no discussion or agreement of any kind with Google’s new music streaming service.”

When Stereogum posted an update to its original story with Swift’s camp’s response, he replied on Twitter with a link to a WIRED article that explains two of Swift’s 1989 singles are available now on a Music Key preview. 

And then he and Stereogum founder and editor-in-chief Scott Lapatine discussed somewhat further:

It’s unclear whether Bragg’s “Really?” is cynicism or actual shock, and possible embarrassment at what might be a gaff here. Perhaps time will tell. Meanwhile, Swift has stayed silent to it all online