The premature arrival of Björk's Vulnicura forced the singer to make her heartbreaking new album available on iTunes before physical copies were ready to ship. While Vulnicura is available for purchase in the digital realm, don’t expect to hear Björk's latest on streaming sites any time soon. Fast Company asked the Icelandic singer why her new album hasn't been uploaded to Spotify yet, and Björk said that it's a matter of respect for the art.
"We're all making it up as it goes, to be honest. I would like to say there's some master plan going on [with the album release], but there isn't. But a few months ago I emailed my manager and said, 'Guess what? This streaming thing just does not feel right. I don’t know why, but it just seems insane,'" Björk said. "To work on something for two or three years and then just, 'Oh, here it is for free.' It's not about the money; it’s about respect, you know? Respect for the craft and the amount of work you put into it."
Artists like Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Thom Yorke have pulled their music from streaming services like Spotify to protest the company's compensation system of paying artists $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. However, Björk is more opposed to the devaluation of her art so quickly after its released, but she does have an idea to fix the problem. "But maybe Netflix is a good model. You go first to the cinema and after a while it will come on Netflix," Björk said. "Maybe that's the way to go with streaming. It's first physical and then maybe you can stream it later."
While Bjork was initially taken aback when Vulnicura leaked two months early, being forced to rush-release the record turned out to be therapeutic for the singer. "At that point, I had had two years of things happening to me that I didn’t want to happen to me, so my Buddhist muscle had been well exercised. 'Okay, another thing has happened to me that I didn’t want to happen to me! I have no choice but to deal with it,'" she said. "So in a strange way, it was in the spirit of the album in that you don’t have a choice. And I was dying to get this album out and over and done with. So I think, in a way, it was a strange kind of blessing."
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Björk talked about how important the album was in helping her recovery from a devastating breakup – the end of her 13-year relationship to artist Matthew Barney – which gives further insight on why she isn't eager to just give it away for free. "I can't begin to describe how much better I feel, just physically," Björk said of the album. "Obviously, life is not that black and white. Something will happen to me in five years, and it might come back to life. But I am out of that emergency stage, when you feel like a space alien, just possessed."