DGC Roundtable: Taylor Swift Versus Spotify
Posted by Patrick Wentling
The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our fall intern, Jamie Kurke.
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift has been the hottest artist on the planet (and DGC favorite) since she released her smash single “Shake It Off” near the end of the summer. Between the highly anticipated new album, upcoming tour, and overall Taylor-mania, she’s run an effective launch strategy to keep herself in the news — and this time it has nothing to do with ex-boyfriends.
The big headline of the week was Taylor’s abrupt decision to pull her entire music catalog from Spotify, one of the popular streaming services. There’s been several theories and reactions for why, but nothing definite from her camp.
With that in mind, our question this week was:
After Taylor Swift pulled her entire music catalog from Spotify, what are the implications for the industry – from Spotify’s response, Taylor’s reputation, and the future of digital music distribution?
Erin Donahue Tice, Vice President, Group Account Director
Taylor can do no wrong, especially when it comes to knowing her own personal brand, and how to connect with her fans. She’s a savvy marketer with strong PR inclinations, and her choice to pull her entire catalogue from Spotify is only causing more intrigue and excitement around her new album, which will in turn drum up sales. Much like Beyonce’s decision to release her new album last year on itunes without any pre-publicity, Taylor is at a level in her career where she can do what she wants, on her own terms. There are a multitude of ways to get music in the hands of consumers these days, and by omitting her songs from Spotify, Taylor isn’t hurting her career; if anything, she’s breeding more “Swifties” who love her sense of honesty and integrity, and will pay whatever it costs to hear her tunes.
Sara Ajemian, Account Director
Taylor’s not the first to buck the trend and make her own rules (hello, Beyoncé). Removing her music catalog off of Spotify will have no negative impact on her career. Clearly she’s doing something right: 1989 went instantly platinum. I think more artists are going to follow in her footsteps, but only if they can afford to.
Pat Wentling, Senior Account Executive
This comes down to an art versus distribution conversation which is anything but apples to apples. Music is an art form, and digital distribution platforms like Spotify have devalued that art but provided it on a grander scale. It’s a debate that has valid arguments on both sides. In this case, Taylor has to do what’s best for her. It’s not going to hurt her or Spotify. She’s one of the few artists who can rise above it. For digital distribution’s sake, I do hope there is a conversation on fair pay for artists who spend their time developing the music we love. In the meantime, Taylor’s just gonna shake.
Lexi Hewitt, Account Coordinator
I think that Taylor Swift pulling all of her albums from Spotify could have interesting implications for the music industry. However, I don’t think that it’s the end of the world for Spotify. I think Spotify means different things to artists on different levels. For an artist not as well-known as Taylor, Spotify could be an opportunity to get their name out there and get exposure to people they may not initially be able to reach. It will be interesting to see what implications Taylor Swift’s decision has as new albums from bigger acts come out and to see whether or not more artists follow suit.
Jamie Kurke, Intern
My visceral reaction of this whole situation is how brazen it is on TSwift’s part. Spotify is, in my mind at least, in the top tier of music streaming services and it seems to be a huge snuff on her part to declare that she doesn’t need or want them. Furthermore, I’m sure there are plenty of enraged fans out there that now have to choose between their go-to music app and their favorite It-Girl. That said, however, it could prove to work marketing wonders for Taylor. She’s always been vocal about her independence and makes a big deal about having gained fame all on her own; this is certainly a power move that pushes out that message even further. Hopefully, her fans will remain loyal and respect her choice, Spotify will continue to be respectful and graceful about their loss, and balance can remain intact in the music biz.