Fans were furious last week when pop sensation Taylor Swift refused to upload her new album 1989 to Spotify. They are about to get angrier: all five Swift albums disappeared from Spotify's catalogue on Monday morning.
Hey @taylorswift13 the haters gonna hate, hate, hate but 40 million+ Spotifiers gonna play, play, play. Don’t let them down for too long. xo— jonathan prince (@jonathanmprince) October 30, 2014
Spotify doesn't just get new albums when they release; the company has to negotiate with artists and record labels to strike a deal before an album can be uploaded. The music streaming service has said it's working with Swift to get her albums back on the site.
"We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone," it said in a Monday statement. "We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That's why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community."
Neither Swift nor her record label have commented on the disappearance of the albums
The fact that 1989 isn't on Spotify shouldn't come as a surprise. Swift also kept her fourth album Red off of Spotify when it dropped in 2012 for months after the release date. Other artists who sell in large numbers, such as Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Adele, have also kept their albums off of Spotify except for the singles.
And Swift has especially been an opponent of free music services, writing this in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal earlier this year:
"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 hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."
In many ways, she's correct. Album sales are down 14 percent across the board this year. And Swift isn't hurting for listeners; she's using incentives like cute Polaroid photos packaged with the CD to get fans to buy the hard copy. Billboard initially predicted Swift would sell 700,000 or 800,000 copies of 1989 in her first week. That estimate has since risen to 1.2 million.
In the meantime, Spotify has added a playlist titled "What to Play While Taylor is Away."