With Taylor Swift’s entire back catalogue now removed from Spotify, fans using the service can’t stream her tracks, including recent single ‘Shake It Off’.
Which, as it turns out, was the most-streamed song on Spotify globally in the three weeks before its removal. How do we know? We have the stats, harvested from the streaming service’s APIs by Music Ally’s Leonardo Toyama.
‘Shake It Off’ rose from the 35th most-streamed track in the week ending 21 September with just over 3.5m plays to third with 10.1m plays in the week ending 28 September; second with 11.3m plays in the week ending 5 October, then first in each of the next three weeks with respectively 11.9m, 11.6m and 11.4m plays, for a total of just under 59.9m Spotify streams.
Or – because we can never see a Spotify play-count without wanting to cross reference it against the company’s claimed average per-stream rate of $0.006 and $0.0084 – a total payout of between $360,000 and $500,000 to rightsholders (Swift’s label and publisher) for that one track. Or, in those last three weeks before its removal, around $84,000 a week.
(Important point: that figure isn’t included to support either side in this dispute. If you’re pro-Spotify, you might point to it as pretty decent revenues for a single track on a single streaming service. If you’re anti-Spotify, you might point to giving up that much revenue as a sign of just how convinced Swift and/or her label Big Machine are that streaming is harmful.)
Another important point: Taylor Swift wasn’t making $84k a week from Shake It Off, as her ultimate payout will depend on her label and publishing deals.
Anyway, it’s another piece of data as the industry gets to grips with the dispute’s implications. More stats? We have some of those too: 30.4m of the 59.9m plays came from Europe and 19.8m from the US, with Latin America (4.4m), Asia (2.4m) and Australia & New Zealand (1.9m) making up the numbers.
One final important point (sorry): to make it absolutely clear, the data used for this story was collected by Music Ally using publicly accessible data from Spotify’s APIs: the company itself didn’t feed us the data and hasn’t been consulted for this article. It seems strange to have to make that point, but given the tone of the debate around this particular dispute, we thought it best to make it clear.