The dry stream of musicians’ royalties

In November last year, Taylor Swift withdrew most of her music from Spotify, complaining that the music-streaming service made her music available to all users, not just paying subscribers. She had previously called Spotify’s payments to musical artists — on average less than a penny per song — stingy. Nor is Spotify the only one to attract Swiftian scorn: she has withheld her latest album, “1989”, from Apple’s new music-streaming service, describing their free, three-month trial period, in which artists would get no royalties, as “shocking” and “disappointing” on Tumblr.Much of this is for show. Ms Swift’s paying fans can still listen to her older songs on other services, including Beats Music, Rhapsody, TIDAL and Rdio, and the vast majority of her catalogue is available free on YouTube. Despite that, she sold more than a million copies of “1989” in the first week, and 5m by mid-summer, making it the fastest-selling album in more than a decade.

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