Days after Taylor Swift pulled her discography from Spotify, the pop star has explained the rationale behind the decision. In an interview with Yahoo, the singer fielded a question asking her to speculate on how differently her latest record, 1989, would have sold were it on the music-streaming service. While Swift declined to speculate, she did comment on Spotify and the idea of free music.
“Music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment,” Swift said. “And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Referencing the op-ed article she wrote for The Wall Street Journal this year, in which she asserted that art should be paid for, Swift maintained that she likes to stay open-minded about the subject and willing to debate it as “actual progress” within the music industry.
“A lot of people were suggesting to me that I try putting new music on Spotify with ‘Shake It Off,’ and so I was open-minded about it,” Swift said. “I thought, ‘I will try this. I’ll see how it feels.’ It didn’t feel right to me.”
Popular on Rolling Stone
After questioning the message she was sending by making her music available for free, Swift concluded that she wasn’t comfortable with the perception of the value of music that she was projecting. “So I decided to change the way I was doing things,” she said.
A representative for Spotify declined to address Swift’s comments for this article.
Elsewhere in the interview, Swift explained why she focuses on writing albums rather than putting out a series of singles. “I’d really much rather write a novel than a bunch of short stories,” she said. “I’d rather be known for a collection of songs that go together and live together and belong together. These are essentially installments of my life, two years at a time, and I work really hard to make sure that those installments are good enough to also apply to other people’s lives in two-year periods of time. Albums defined my childhood, and they’ve defined my life.”
Earlier this week, Spotify released a statement about Swift’s decision to pull her catalog. “We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone,” the company’s statement read. “We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy.”