Spotify to Taylor Swift: Please 'stay stay stay'

Spotify regretfully removes Swift's songs from its service after receiving a request from the pop star and her management team.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Taylor Swift at a Sony event in 2010 with former Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer. James Martin/CNET

Taylor Swift, whose new album "1989" is on pace to smash the record for best-selling album, has requested Spotify remove her songs from the streaming service.

"Taylor and her management team asked us to remove her content from Spotify so it was all removed this morning," a Spotify spokesman confirmed Monday in an emailed statement to CNET. Spotify had announced the news on its blog.

"We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone," the Spotify team wrote in the blog. "We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy."

Nearly 16 million of Spotify's 40 million users have played Swift tracks in the last 30 days alone, according to the company, and her tracks are on over 19 million playlists. The company didn't say why Swift decided to remove her content from Spotify. Some of her tracks are still available on other streaming services, including Rhapsody and Pandora.

In July, Swift made her views public in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about the shifting music industry.

"Music is art, and art is important and rare," she wrote. "Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is."

Swift has become a juggernaut in the music business. As of this writing, "Shake It Off," from the "1989" album, is the No. 1 song on the iTunes Charts, and the album is also a top-seller.

She joins a growing number of big-name artists, including Radiohead and Pink Floyd, who have voiced discomfort with streaming music, which has grown to become the music industry's biggest area of sales growth in just a few years. But it's also been plagued by questions -- sometimes outright accusations -- about whether royalty and payment structures rip off artists.

To counter such sentiment, some streaming services have been warming their overtures to the music industry lately. In August, Pandora itself introduced its first-ever direct deals with independent labels, and Smule, a music gaming company, created a dedicated program to develop promotional campaigns with artists, such as arranging a duet between fans and artist through its Sing! Karaoke app. Spotify and Bandpage joined forces to let musicians sell "experiences" to fans on the streaming service, such as private concerts, duets, and preshow parties. And Soundcloud began a process to share new-added ad revenue with musicians.

Despite the obvious setback, Spotify is taking the Swift news in stride. "Now there's 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It's a love story, baby, just say, yes," the company wrote in its blog post, playing on lyrics from some of her better-known tracks.

Swift's publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

CNET's Joan Solsman contributed to this report.