It’s Not a Love Story: Fans criticize Taylor Swift’s decision to pull albums from Spotify


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Sophomore Jenny Shi is one Taylor Swift fan who isn’t happy about Taylor Swift’s recent decision to remove her music from the popular music service Spotify.

“I love Taylor Swift. Her music is good. She makes me want to be myself, and I enjoy her lyrics,” Shi said. “I was really upset when I found out she took her songs off Spotify.”

Spotify is a digital music streaming service that allows users to listen to their favorite songs for free with occasional advertisements. Unlike pirating music, Spotify is legal and gives music artists small royalties depending on the number of times their songs are played. Spotify has a statement on its website that the average payout to artists is $0.006 to $0.0084 per song, which represents approximately 70 percent of Spotify’s profits.

Business law teacher Holly Hochstedler said services like Spotify are just trying to make fans feel like they’re helping their favorite artists, even though the services provide artists with reduced profits.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 11.40.27 AM“They’re just trying to find their niche in the market,” Hochstedler said. “They’re trying to give a little bit of royalties to the artists so that those of us who want to get music and feel like we’re giving the proper responses to the artists are being able to do that.”

While Swift is not the first artist to remove her songs from Spotify, she is certainly one of its more popular ones. For her part, Shi said she does not support Swift’s decision, especially because many people use Spotify.

Shi said, “(Swift’s actions) are not fair to the users of Spotify, because Spotify is for free music and she’s a very popular artist. Therefore, not putting her music on Spotify is like her not wanting us to listen to her music anymore.”

According to an article from TIME, Swift’s song “Shake It Off” earned her $280,000 to $390,000 before it was pulled, while her most recent album “1989” earned her over $12 million in its first week of sales. Hochstedler said while music streaming provides artists with less money, it is a better alternative to illegal piracy.

“(Music streaming) is more ethical than not paying at all. But, on the other hand, if the artists are the ones that feel like they are not being treated fairly, then it’s kind of hard for somebody on the outside to say that they are being treated fairly,” she said. “It’s similar to knockoffs on handbags and brand name shoes. At least here, the artist is getting something, so that makes it more ethical than the knockoffs, where the artist gets absolutely nothing.”

According to Shi, streaming can still be beneficial to artists, despite its lower payout rates.

Shi said, “(Music streaming) can help people discover new artists and find new songs, so I think it helps music artists in the long run.”

Regardless, the music industry will continue to persist in its fight against piracy, utilizing better methods for music sales so that artists like Swift don’t feel cheated when they share their music with the world.

Hochstedler said, “I would think the music industry is analyzing their own situation to see how they can do better in the new age. I would guess that somewhere they’re going to come up with some kinds of ways to make this (earnings inequity) a little more even. And maybe these companies like Spotify are going to come to the middle somewhere, and maybe it will work out. I would think someday this is going to get figured out.”