Taylor Swift Shake It Off Spotify World

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.

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  1. What we have here is Spotify acting like a promotional tool that worked like reverse radio in that it PAID to play those tracks.

    Let’s break it down a bit more.

    She sold roughly 1.3M units of her album in the first week. Almost $16M in revenue. She’s #1 on iTunes, and now has 4 albums on the iTunes 200. So likely she’s seeing boosts of her entire catalogue wherever people buy music.

    According to your numbers her catalogue was earning her $84k a week. In one week she’s generated at least 190 weeks worth of revenue from Spotify by pulling her catalogue and windowing.

    Even if her sales peter out over the next week or so and over the next month to two months she only sells 3 million total, it would take her over a year of sustained plays on Spotify to match that revenue.

    And thanks to all the media writing how stupid she is and Spotify posting a blog entry and a playlist…they’ve increased her media profile immensely for free.

    She looks pretty smart to me.

  2. She hasn’t earned 190 weeks of revenue though as your comparing apples and oranges. The spotify income equates to a single track but the album sales are for 13 tracks. So that’s closer to 14 weeks. And I’m fairly sure spotify streaming rates hold up better than album sales which will alway make the bulk of their sales in the first week

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