By releasing her music on Spotify, Taylor Swift landed a huge blow to Apple Music

In Music
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taylor swiftAndrew H. Walker/Getty

In late 2014, Taylor Swift
the music
industry by taking her music off Spotify and other streaming
services, and announcing an exclusive deal with Apple

The decision was, in part,
motivated by the fact that Spotify users could listen to Swift’s
music without a paid subscription, instead opting for the free,
ad-supported tier. Apple Music, on the other hand, has no free
option and is only available to paying subscribers.

In an op-ed for a few months before her music was removed from the
service, Swift wrote that “

Music is art, and art is important and rare.
Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be
paid for.”

Nearly three years later, in a
breathtaking ,

Swift’s oeuvre
made a surprise return to Spotify the very same day that pop star
Katy Perry released her latest album.

Whether this was a move meant
only to spite her bitter rival, or was instead a response to
to restrict
its free tier, the result is the same: It’s a blow to Apple

Earlier this week that
Apple Music is still trailing Spotify by a large margin — 27
million paid subscribers versus 50 million.

This chart shows that subscriber
gap to stunning effect:

Graphic: Apple Music vs SpotifyMike Nudelman/Business

Think about that for a second:
For its entire lifetime, Apple Music has been built into nearly
every iPhone on the market
andit had exclusive access to arguably the
biggest star in pop music besides Beyoncé.

Now, with Swift’s discography
available on Spotify, Google Play and others, Apple is facing an
even steeper hill to climb in order to overtake its chief rival.
Prospective customers deciding between music services
will no longer have Swift’s dulcet tones beckoning them towards
Apple’s bosom as a deciding factor.

It will be interesting to see
what happens as the streaming services go head-to-head with even
rosters of superstar talent.

One thing is for sure: Taylor Swift will win
either way.

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