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Taylor Swift explains why she left Spotify

Ryan Seacrest and Taylor Swift are shocked and surprised. (Photo by: Chris Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Taylor Swift doesn’t think music streaming services appropriately value her art.

In an interview for Time magazine’s cover story this week, Swift commented on her recent decision to pull all of her songs from streaming service Spotify.

She reiterated opinions she voiced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in July, saying that artists should value their art and make sure that people are paying enough money for it.

Swift also notes that Spotify could hurt music sales. Music is available for streaming on Spotify even to those who don’t pay for a premium subscription.

“[People] can still listen to my music if they get it on iTunes. I’m always up for trying something. And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art,” Swift told Time.

“I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales.

“With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created. On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music.

“I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.

“I wrote about this in July, I wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. This shouldn’t be news right now. It should have been news in July when I went out and stood up and said I’m against it. And so this is really kind of an old story.”

Artists generally don’t make nearly as much money putting their music on Spotify as they do selling digital albums and songs on services like iTunes.

Spotify says it pays 70% of its revenue to labels — which will amount to about $US1 billion this year — but some artists feel they don’t get a big enough cut. The streaming service revealed last year that it paid record labels an average of less than a penny per play, and that’s just the money going to labels, not the artists themselves.

Scott Borchetta, the CEO of Swift’s record label Big Machine, told Time on Wednesday that the label earned only $US500,000 from domestic streaming on Spotify in the past year. Spotify told Time that the amount the service paid for streams of Swift’s music in the past year was actually $US2 million if you account for global streams as well as domestic.

But it’s unclear how much of that money Swift saw herself — Spotify paid the $US2 million to Universal, which holds the rights to Swift’s music, and then her label Big Machine got a cut.

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