Update: Spotify has responded.
Taylor Swift’s breakup with Spotify keeps getting messier, as the superstar’s label claims she earned significantly less from the streaming service than they claimed. In Swift’s Time cover story, her label’s CEO Scott Borchetta said she only made $496,044 from domestic streams of her music — significantly less than the $6 million a year figure Spotify’s chief executive said artists of her caliber were expected to make.
Borchetta explained Swift pulled her music from Spotify to make a point about the alleged harm the service causes musicians. “The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores,” he told Time. “Don’t forget this is for the most successful artist in music today. What about the rest of the artists out there struggling to make a career? Over the last year, what Spotify has paid is the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold.”
Spotify disputes these numbers. A spokesperson told SPIN that the streaming service paid out $2 million to the rights holders of Swift’s music in the past 12 months, and the company’s global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince told Time that they paid her label and publisher “roughly half a million dollars” in the month before she pulled her music. Prince added that her earnings were only going to get bigger thanks to the massive success of 1989.
Whatever the case, this fight has certainly gotten ugly as it’s dragged on, and figures to only get uglier. Back when the split first happened, Spotify cheekily tried to lure her back with mixtapes. Were we really ever that young?