One of the reasons that management pulled the Taylor Swift catalog from all streaming services in 2014 was that the revenue from streaming wasn’t sufficient to warrant it being there. Swift was the biggest artist in the world at the time and didn’t need the additional exposure, and she was still selling CDs, so other than disappointing hardcore fans, there wasn’t much of a point to stream. Today that’s a different story, since it’s been reported that Ms Swift made around $400,000 in a little more than a week back on the streaming services.
If you recall, back in 2014 (which seems like such a long time ago – at least in digital years), most streams were coming from free tiers, which pay far less than the paid tiers. Today that revenue stream has turned around, thanks to Apple Music for sure, but also Spotify as well, which now has in excess of 50 million paid subscribers. As a result, there’s some real money to be made, at least for the 1 percenters like Swift.
According to Billboard, on-demand audio streams of songs from Swift’s catalog totaled 47.5 million in the U.S. last week, which means that $397k was generated since the catalog reappeared on streaming, based on an average per-stream audio-on-demand rate of $0.006. That’s including about $59,000 in publishing royalties as well. Pretty good for a little more than a week, don’t you think?
This just goes to show that there is real money in streaming, but it’s becoming more apparent that you have to be a superstar in order to get it. The original hope of digital music was that it would be the great equalizer where all artists were relatively equal, but that seems more like a dream every day. We’ve always lived in a superstar world in the music business, and today that’s truer than ever before. Taylor Swift is the perfect example.