Taylor Swift is the music industry's biggest and best-selling star. Unfortunately for Spotify, she also happens to hate the idea of fans streaming her songs for free. But Swift has no problem letting those same people watch her music on YouTube and Vevo. And in the aftermath of Swift's Spotify exit, internet users everywhere have seemingly developed an insatiable urge to watch her videos. Over and over again. Nielsen has been tracking Swift's YouTube views in recent weeks, and they've been shooting upward all month after her entire discography was pulled from Spotify on November 3rd.
For the week ending November 9th, daily views of Swift videos nearly doubled, rising from 12.5 million on the day the music died to nearly 24 million. (The tally includes videos from YouTube, Vevo, and user-generated clips.) Meanwhile, audio streaming predictably took a nosedive; Swift's back catalog remains available from Beats Music and other music apps that require a paid subscription. But as the chart shows, no one's really listening to her there. Fans are going where the free music is. Even if it means dealing with ads.
We can't directly link Swift's abandonment of Spotify with the rise in YouTube clicks. 1989 has been dominating the Billboard charts, so there would've been a spike regardless. And Swift premiered the album's second music video, "Blank Space," on November 10th, which likely played a bigger role than Spotify in lifting her to 35 million daily views. What might the audio streams line have looked like in an alternate, Taylor-Swift-loves-Spotify universe? We can't know for sure, but you can bet it would've been pointing upward.