Bloomberg is reporting that Taylor Swift’s sixth album, Reputation, won’t be available on any streaming services for at least a week after going on sale.
According to the report, major services are “still negotiating” with Swift and her team to figure out when the album will be available. At the moment, it looks like the only way to listen to Reputation when it is released on Friday, November 10th will be to buy it — either online, or accompanied by a bonkers-looking magazine at Target.
This move comes after years of back-and-forth between Swift and the major streaming services. Her back catalog was added to Spotify in June, three years after she pulled it all and made a public announcement about how ad-supported streaming was unfair to artists and songwriters. The rest of her music was left up on Tidal without explanation, but her 2014 album 1989 wasn’t available to stream on any platform until after a public dispute with Apple Music in the summer of 2015. These are just the highlights from a deeply confusing timeline. Now, Swift makes ads for Apple Music, but reportedly won’t put her album on the platform on release day. She also curated a custom playlist for Spotify in September.
Obviously, Swift isn’t even close to the first artist to keep new music off of one platform or another for some period of time, for some reason. Adele kept 25 off of Spotify for months, telling Rolling Stone, “It probably is the future, but, eh.” Beyoncé's 2015 release Lemonade is still not available on Spotify, and remains exclusive to Tidal, the platform she co-owns with Jay Z. Longtime hold-outs and wafflers like Garth Brooks and Neil Young have come around to streaming in the last year, but only on a platform-by-platform basis. It’s all a mess.
Earlier this year, Universal Music Group signed a crucial deal with Spotify that seemed like it would resolve most of the remaining issues artists like Swift have had with streaming services. Under that agreement, artists could keep their new music exclusive to the service’s premium tiers — and off the free, ad-supported tiers — for the first two weeks after an album’s release. That apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy Swift, though whatever the current deal-breaker is, it’s a secret for now.
Earlier today, several leaked photos of the album’s tracklist surfaced on Stereogum, possibly revealing that Reputation features a collaboration between Swift, Future, and Ed Sheeran. That came on the heels of yesterday’s revelation that Swift is threatening to sue a blogger who wrote a strange essay tying her song lyrics to the online alt-right movement. Nothing makes sense, but congratulations to Taylor Swift on another must-watch album release cycle.