Skip to main content

Taylor Swift's label hits back at Spotify by disclosing streaming royalties

Taylor Swift's label hits back at Spotify by disclosing streaming royalties


Service paid less than $500,000 for domestic plays over the last 12 months

Share this story

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The war of words continues between music streaming service Spotify and powerful pop icon Taylor Swift. After Swift removed her entire catalog from the streaming service last week, Spotify boss Daniel Ek said that she, along with other mainstream artists, was on track to earn over $6 million in royalties this year. But Scott Borchetta, CEO of Swift's label Big Machine, has countered that claim, saying that the "Shake It Off" singer had earned less than $500,000 from Spotify streams in the US in the last 12 months.

A Spotify spokesperson told Time that Swift had been paid a total of $2 million over the last 12 months for the global streaming of her songs, but Borchetta still maintains that Spotify is a blight on the music industry. "The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores," he said, clarifying the amount Spotify paid out over the last year as "the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold." According to Borchetta, Swift earns more from her videos on Vevo than she did from having her music on Spotify.

Spotify paid Swift "the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold"

Of course, half a million dollars in a vacuum is an impressive figure, but Swift is phenomenally successful in terms of sales and one of a few remaining mega pop stars. Her most recent album, 1989, became the first this year to sell more than a million copies in a week — a feat only equaled by 18 albums in history. Unlike most, Taylor Swift can make millions off the back of traditional album sales, but by keeping her music away from Spotify even as it begs for her to come back, she and Borchetta say they're trying to make the larger point that the service doesn't pay its artists a reasonable fee. "[Taylor Swift] is the most successful artist in music today," Borchetta says. "What about the rest of the artists out there struggling to make a career?"