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Taylor Swift versus Spotify, in one chart.

This Nielsen chart shows Swift's pull from Spotify
This Nielsen chart shows Swift's pull from Spotify

Taylor Swift pulled all of her music from streaming services under the argument that she deserved to be paid for her art and Spotify was not paying her enough. After the release of her new album 1989, however, Swift didn't pull her songs from YouTube, a site where — like Spotify — users can listen to songs free of charge with minimal ad interruption.

This chart, produced by Nielsen shows exactly how much that hurt Spotify, or, rather, how much of a boost in traffic Swift gave to YouTube by pulling her music from streaming services. There are two things to be careful about here.

  1. It's unlikely that Swift would have put 1989onto Spotify immediately, since she waited a few months to put Red, her last album, on the service. That means the Spotify line likely would have remained steady, even as YouTube rose.
  2. This chart extends past the date when Swift uploaded her music video for "Blank Space" to YouTube, giving the site an added bump in traffic. That disparity would have existed even without the Spotify pull.

To be clear: this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. But it's one advantageous enough to Swift's position that her camp will almost certainly use it (or something similar) to get higher rates per play out of Spotify and other streaming services in the future.

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