Matt co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s product strategy and development.
It’s safe to say that Taylor Swift loves Spotify about as much as Metallica’s Lars Ulrich loved Napster. Which is to say, not at all. Recently she both declined to make her new hit album, “1989,” available for streaming, and in protest to the request, pulled all of her catalog off the streaming music service.
"All I can say is that 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," the artist explained. "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."
Both Taylor Swift and Spotify are very popular with the same demographic, so we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the PR analytics around this impasse.
Share of Voice
This situation gives us an interesting opportunity to look at the share of voice for coverage of Taylor Swift along with Spotify, and coverage of other Taylor Swift news. After all, there was other news. Her new album sold more than 1.2 million copies in its first week, which makes it the best-selling album in 12 years, since Eminem's "The Eminem Show."
Our share of voice analysis shows that just 20% of Taylor Swift coverage since the controversy began was devoted to the Spotify situation. Almost all the other coverage was centered on the release of the new album. So while the move away from Spotify did generate significant interest, it certainly did not overshadow the success of the album itself.
When Metallica sued Napster in 2001, there was a significant backlash against the band. Many music lovers felt the move against the file sharing service was greedy and uncool comming from people who were already wealthy. (The band Mötley Crüe even created an animated video poking fun at Metallica, prompting Metallica’s spokeswoman to say, “If Mötley Crüe’s on one side, and we’re on the other, you can guarantee we’re on the right side.” Priceless.) We took a look at sentiment regarding Taylor v. Spotify to see if she would suffer the same fate. It doesn’t look like it.
Earned media sentiment is overwhelming pro Swift. Even the articles that opined that the battle against streaming music services is a losing one, agreed that the current model for compensating artists in inadequate.
TrendKite identified top articles based on the readership of each publication (how many people potentially read an article based on unique visitors to the publication's website), and also on how many times Taylor Swift and Spotify are mentioned in the article. All of the top articles were about why Ms. Swift made the decision to pull her music from the service. “Taylor Swift Explains Why She Pulled Her Music from Spotify,” from the Huffington Post made the top of the list, due to the publication’s readership of approximately 31,507,420.
The intersection of music and technology has been a pretty tricky place to be for the last couple of decades. It is unclear how the shifting delivery model can be fine-tuned for the benefit of fans, artists and service providers alike. For its part, Spotify is trying desperately (a little too desperately?) to woo the singer back into the stream. Surely fans hope the pair kiss and make up, but from a PR prospective it looks like the internet has Taylor’s back.