- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
There’s a lot of bad blood between Taylor Swift and Spotify.
Swift argued that Spotify’s “freemium” model, where users can listen to music for free but pay for upgrades like ad-free listening, devalued music and didn’t work for her.
However, Spotify investor and music manager to Meghan Trainor, Troy Carter, said that her argument against the company is flawed.
“I think Taylor is brilliant, but it’s sort of a flawed argument because the alternative is piracy,” Carter said on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt. “People already have a free option by going on YouTube and listening to the music on YouTube.”
Many people have found other ways to listen to Swift’s music, and the fact that Spotify does have a “freemium” set up doesn’t mean Swift isn’t paid in the end.
Spotify pays 70% of its revenue to labels, and Carter says the problem is getting the money into the hands of the artists, and the pennies per play that the artists make now is because of those label agreements. That amount will only grow larger, though, as the service becomes more popular.
“I do think we have to be patient and move as many people to streaming as possible,” Carter said. “Right now we’re talking about 50 million users on the streaming service but when we have 500 million to a billion users, then the unit economics start to add up at that point.”
Spotify and other music listening services aren’t even the largest slice of Swift’s income, according to a Buzzfeed article. As Carter points out, artists being paid little from the labels is an industry standard – not a result of Spotify’s business model.
“We’ve always gotten screwed from record royalties anyways. The live business and the merchandise business has always been the bigger piece of the pie,” Carter said.