With big album on sale, Taylor Swift pulls music from Spotify

Singer Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" to promote her new album "1989" in New York on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Singer Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" to promote her new album "1989" in New York on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Singer Taylor Swift, whose new album is likely to have the biggest opening week of sales in a dozen years, on Monday pulled her entire catalogue from online music streaming service Spotify.

Singers and bands, including Beyonce and Coldplay, in the past have delayed releasing albums to Spotify to give retailers an exclusive window to sell their albums, but Swift has taken the unusual action of pulling all of her music from the service.

The action may discourage Swift's fans who use the service and overshadow the singer's announcement on Monday of a world tour that is set to begin in May in Louisiana.

Swift and her record label, Big Machine, requested last week that the singer's music be taken down, Spotify spokesman Graham James said.

Swift wrote in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal in July, "Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically... Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free..."

The Swedish-British company made a public plea to Swift, saying in a blog post, "We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone." The company said Swift's music was on 19 million playlists. The streaming service has more than 40 million users.

Swift's new album, 1989, was released on Oct 27 and it is expected to top 1 million in US sales when figures are released on Wednesday, trade magazine Billboard said.

Big Machine declined to comment on why it asked for Swift's albums to be pulled from Spotify, a free service that also offers subscription fees to users who want to eliminate advertising. 1989 was not available to stream on Spotify but its lead single, No. 1 hit Shake It Off, had been.

Streaming music has attracted interest among technology companies such as Amazon.com and Apple as album sales and downloads decline.

The withholding of new music, known as "windowing", is meant to encourage customers to buy albums and download songs rather than stream them online, which is less profitable.

Artists and record companies have at times been at odds with Spotify over money. The company says that about 70 per cent of its revenue goes to record labels and publishers, which then have their own separate agreements with artists.

Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta has been vocal in the past over his dislike about how Spotify and other free streaming services compensate record labels.

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