What do you do when you finally have everything? If you’re Taylor Swift, you give a little something back. And take a swing at Katy Perry, of course.
To celebrate her album 1989 selling over 10 million copies, the 27-year-old pop singer announced yesterday that she would let fans stream her old albums on apps like Spotify. Sure, Swift won’t make as much money doing this as she’d like to make, but when your estimated net worth is over $US280 million ($372 million), you can make some sacrifices.
— Taylor Nation (@taylornation13) June 8, 2017
Along with the 10 million album sales worldwide, Swift also won the RIAA’s 100 million song certifications. This vague and seemingly made up honour puts her right behind Rihanna, who has 118 million song certifications, but ahead of Katy Perry and her measly 88 million song certifications. It’s worth pointing out that Perry, with whom Taylor has a famous feud, released her new album on Friday, so clearly this is about more than money. Whatever, Swift seems honoured enough that she’s finally going to let more people listen to her music.
Swift’s entire back catalogue returned to “all streaming services” yesterday, ending a very public feud with the streaming industry. Three years ago, when 1989 released, the musician pulled her songs from Spotify. “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music,” Swift said at the time. Spotify rightly pointed out that the record industry is actually the one responsible for compensating artists poorly, as it has been for decades. But Taylor Swift did not yield.
When Apple Music launched in 2015, offering customers a free three-month trial without compensating the artists on the service, Swift cried foul again and refused to allow her back library to be included in the service. Apple eventually decided to pay the artists during the trial period, and Swift graced its customers with her albums, even that hot new 1989 one. It was probably around that time that Swift started to realise that streaming music services weren’t just an “experiment” any more.
The bitter irony here, of course, is that Taylor Swift is one of the wealthiest musicians in the world. In fact, having pulled in $US170 million ($226 million) last year alone, Swift is actually the highest paid entertainer at the moment, which means that her net worth number is going to keep climbing at a steady clip. What will she do with all this money? Swift already has a seaside mansion in Rhode Island, just across the Long Island Sound from the Hamptons. (She paid $US17 million [$22.6 million] in cash for it.) She also bought the historic Goldwyn mansion in Beverly Hills a couple years ago. (That was $US25 million [$33.2 million].) She even owns two private jets — Dassault Falcons, to be precise. (The newest ones cost $US45 million [$59.8 million] each.) TayTay can’t even spend all the money there’s so much of it!
And so, Swift is giving back. She’s doing it for the fans. She’s doing it for you. And she’s also doing it to boost concert ticket sales as well as merchandising as well as all those other ways an artist can make money when they let streaming music services make them more popular.