Following the release of her album, Reputation, Taylor Swift has returned to streaming services after boycotting them in 2014.
Back in 2014, Swift boycotted streaming service Spotify because she was of the opinion that the streaming services were underpaying artists for their music. This involved things like not being paid during 3-month trials and being paid well under the dollar for each play of their song.
Earlier this year however, Swift appeared in an advertisement for Apple Music, sending a subtle message that she was back and potentially willing to sell her music on streaming services.
In the initial stages of the release of Reputation it was left off streaming services all together. Swift’s new album, arguably the biggest release of 2017 and potentially ever, was unavailable to be streamed. Interestingly, it didn’t stop the hype or people’s willingness to pay for it.
On Friday though, it all changed as Reputation became available on both Spotify and Apple Music. The delay between release dates of the physical and streaming versions of the album highlights the power that Taylor Swift holds in the music industry.
Not many artists could get away with the staggered release dates and it speaks volumes about the power that she holds. It is Swift’s use of social media – platforms that her extremely loyal fans are able to relate to – that create this power.
Her recent image change to keep up with trends and also maintain her fan base as they grow older is also an indication of her savvy marketing and this is a key factor in maintaining loyalty.
The move to withhold the album from streaming services, initially, is all a part of her changing brand image, using her power and attempting to create a better world for artists who don’t have the power that she does.
By encouraging people to physically go in store, Swift has successfully convinced a large part of the market that it is both ok, and better for the artist to do so. Swift offers a limited edition magazine with the physical purchase of the album as well as the potential to receive better seats when buying tickets to her shows.
Taylor Swift’s constant engagement with fans through social media and competition has allowed her to embark of this drastic image change and use her power for the supposed greater good of the music industry.
It is difficult to see this working for other artists as Swift is most definitely unique in the loyalty of her fans and her willingness to engage with them but not the media. Swift has not given an interview or made any comments regarding the new album since release except via her private social media.
Whether it will have a beneficial domino effect for other artists is yet to be seen but for now we can rejoice knowing that Taylor Swift can be streamed once again.