XoXo: To Stream or Not to Stream?

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We’re just days away from Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album “Reputation.” After a marketing campaign that included a full social media blackout prior to the release of its first single “Look What You Made Me Do,” which promptly broke YouTube records with the music video, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t Swift’s most highly anticipated and potentially controversial album yet.

However, the risks she might be taking with the release extend far beyond her jabs at Kim and Kanye West and glimpses into her mysterious romance with new beau Joe Alwyn. Swift aims to defy current industry trends by refusing to make the album available to streaming services for at least the first week – maybe more.

One rumor suggests that Swift might even hold out on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music until after the Holiday season. For obvious reasons, Swift and her team have decided against streaming options in order to maximize album sales in the first week. With an elaborate Pre-Order campaign that featured Swift’s face on the side of UPS Trucks ready to deliver the album to devoted fans some experts are estimating she could sell a massive 2 million records in the first week.

Is it realistic for any artist today to continue fighting against streaming services? It’s no secret that Taylor has been one of the most vocal critics of these platforms and claimed in an essay that they devalue music and are harmful to artists in general. But even an artist with as strong of a pull as Swift will surely see some consequences of refusing to evolve. More than ever, streaming platforms are serving as jumping off points for artists who previously struggled to receive Billboard recognition and have allowed people within the industry to have a more authentic view of listener tastes and habits.

Swift might be a pop music powerhouse, but can she still maintain that status without streaming? Only time will tell.



Mary Jo


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