The anticipation building up to Taylor Swift’s new album, “1989,” was recorded as an all-time high for the recently converted star. She was ready to unleash her new sound and work to the world. When the album dropped on Oct. 27, songs spread like wildfire with multiple tracks like “Style” and “Out of the Woods” hitting radio stations.
In the midst of all the buzz, Swift made a major decision to pull her music off Spotify, a music streaming source with more than 40 million users. Given this number of users, Swift’s drastic move caused an uproar within her fan base. She explained her thought process in the Wall Street Journal saying, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”
This bold statement altered her brand and image to her fans. By referring to her work as art, she has put more value on her work, showing her fans how much she values what she does and how she is willing to make changes to follow her beliefs. This decision also helps Swift see how much of her art is selling and how it is impacting her fans. It will also allow Swift to better keep track of sales statistics in stores and online.
Branding her music as art and expressing the value of her work has helped Swift become a better businesswoman. However, this decision has also created some friction with fans who did not buy the album and are heavy users of music sources like Spotify. Swift is aware of the little payment Spotify provides to artists for their music to be posted on the site. By taking her music off of Spotify though, the group of fans that Spotify has created will no longer be in contact with her music, which can decrease her spread into this generation of listeners. With everything going digital, it was easy for Spotify users to listen to music, create playlists, and then share those playlists with other users, further promoting the artist’s work to new listeners. Without her music being available within this outlet, Swift could possibly lose a range of continuous listeners. These Spotify users may or may not be able to purchase her album, leading to further backfire on Swift as she may lose future concertgoers and product buyers.
By Chloe Kasper
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.