This week Spotify’s UK head of content programming George Ergatoudis told Music Week he had met Taylor Swift’s management team to talk about her returning to the service.
Ergatoudis said: “It’s not a lock-in, but I’ve got every reason to be very optimistic Taylor Swift will be coming back to Spotify. I’m not saying it’s done, but the indications are good, put it like that.”
When Swift released her album, 1989, in 2014 she pulled her entire catalogue from the streaming giant in protest at its free tier.
Swift said at the time: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”
But Ergatoudis said: “The world’s moved on a lot, even in the last year. There’s a hell of a different market right now.”
This is very true for the music industry, which has been in turmoil for more than a decade. The only constant factor is that most of parts of the sector are in decline.
Ten years ago sales by the British music business accounted for £1.2bn, a slump of 42% in a decade.
The clear reason for this fall is the rise of digital services such as Deezer and Google Play as well as Spotify and Apple Music, which represents a massive consumer shift from owning music to simply streaming it over digital devices.
The BPI said ad-funded websites paid out a “meagre” £24.4m in 2015 in royalties in the UK. This was despite British fans streaming almost 27 billion music videos, an 88% increase from 2014.
Last year YouTube paid out $740m in music rights payments worldwide, according to a report from industry-funded body UK Music. This is up 11% from 2014, despite total views jumping by 132% to 751 billion streams. Per-stream rates fell from $0.0020 to $0.0010.