Two days before Taylor Swift is predicted to shatter this year’s first-week sales record, Big Machine Label Group has pulled the star’s catalog from streaming service Spotify, prompting the company to take the unprecedented move of appealing to her (very large, sleeve-mounted) heart, and that of her label.
In a blog post titled “On Taylor Swift’s Decision To Remove Her Music from Spotify,” the company wrote: “We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy.”
Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta has been outspoken about streaming services, telling the Financial Times for a January story: “I have real concerns with the biggest companies licensing their catalogs to any streaming service that switches on. I think that devalues music, and so it’s really important that record companies and content providers around the world make sure that we’re holding on to … value. It takes a lot of time and effort and money and talent to do this, and if we start giving it all away for fractions of pennies, we’re not going to be able to do it anymore.”
Swift herself wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in July, presenting an optimistic view of the music business but expressing wariness about streaming. “In recent years, you’ve probably read the articles about major recording artists who have decided to practically give their music away, for this promotion or that exclusive deal. My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet…is that they all realize their worth and ask for it.
At publication time, other Big Machine Label Group artists, such as Florida Georgia Line, were still available on the streaming service.
Big Machine Label Group did not respond to a request for comment.