Swift’s new album 1989 was released on 27 October, but it was not available on Spotify and on 3 November her entire back catalogue was removed.
Swift allegedly said in a statement on the decision: “It's my opinion that music should not be free. I hope they [Spotify] don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."
In a blog post, Spotify owner Daniel Ek defended the service, citing Quincy Jones, whom he claimed “posted on Facebook that ‘Spotify is not the enemy; piracy is the enemy’.
“Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it.”
Spotify has paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry to date, according Ek. He added that Swift, before pulling her catalogue, would have received $6 million in 2014.
Ek claimed that Spotify’s interests “are totally aligned,” with artists and removing her albums from the streaming service will only fuel a move to pirate sites.
Spotify works through advertising and subscribers. Advertisers support the ‘free’ service, which Ek calls a “freemium model”. According to Ek, Spotify has 12.5 million subscribers paying $120 per year.