Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" in Times Square on Thursday, Oct. 30 in New York City.
In the aftermath of Taylor Swift removing her songs and albums from Spotify, some fans who still need Swift in their lives have moved over to YouTube.
Swift's daily YouTube views doubled in the first week after Swift and Big Machine Records pulled her songs from Spotify on Nov. 3, Nielsen Music Connect told Mash.
For the week ending Nov. 9, Swift's YouTube and Vevo streams — for her official videos and user-generated content — skyrocketed from roughly 12.5 million daily views on Nov. 3 to almost 24 million daily views on Nov. 9, basically doubling week-over-week.
Views specifically for "Shake It Off" increased 120%. Meanwhile, her overall audio streams unsurprisingly decreased after Swift left Spotify. Her catalog, excluding her new album 1989, can still be streamed on Beats and Rhapsody under those two service's paid models.
For the week ending Nov. 16, her daily views on her YouTube channel increased again — by 72% week-over-week — because of the Nov. 10 release of "Blank Space."
Even with the uptick in YouTube views, Swift went on to sell 2 million copies of 1989 in just three weeks. Swift impressively sold 1.287 million copies in its debut week ending Nov. 2, making it the first and only album released in 2014 to earn platinum status, the million-copies-sold milestone. It was the biggest sales week since 2002's The Eminem Show.1989 has topped the Billboard 200 for three-consecutive weeks now.
Coincidentally this week, Billboard and Nielsen announced they would alter the Billboard 200 albums chart to now include audio streaming data and download numbers of individual tracks to rank the top albums. Physical sales and paid downloads of full albums will still be part of the formula. However, YouTube views have not been incorporated into the albums chart formula like Billboard has already incorporated into its singles chart formula.
How are Taylor Swift and other artists making money?
Labels and recording artists on YouTube earn money in several ways: Streaming music videos with advertising as pre-roll or pop-ups; linking to online stores like iTunes or Amazon to encourage sales; selling merchandise (songs, concert tickets, etc.); garnering brand sponsorships; and earning royalties from covers (Content ID-claimed versions).
YouTube's CPM (cost per 1,000 ad views) can range between $9 to $20-plus, a source familiar with the service's CPM model told Mashable this week.
So if all 20 million views that Swift accrued in that one week equated to 100% sell-through in terms of impressions (not every video view comes with a pre-roll ad) at the $9 CPM rate, Swift's video could earn YouTube as much as $180,000. It's unclear what chunk of that amount actually goes to Swift's team because YouTube doesn't disclose royalty percentages; however, music insiders estimate it's between $0.50 and $2 for every 1,000 views.
If that math holds up, Swift's label could make between $10,000 and $40,000 from 20 million views, an amount that would be shared among the label, songwriters and Swift.
On Spotify, rightsholders (labels, publishers and distributors) make, on average, "between $0.006 and $0.0084" per stream, an amount that "goes to rightsholders who then pay out to artists," Spotify confirmed to Mashable. When using the 20 million streams in the YouTube example, above, in this Spotify equation, Swift's team could make between $120,000 and $168,000 from 20 million streams to be shared among rightsholders and the artist.
Why did Taylor Swift leave Spotify in the first place?
Swift wasn't a fan of Spotify allowing her music to stream to non-paying users.
"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," Swift said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo. "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."
A week after Swift left Spotify, the service's CEO Daniel Ek expressed his frustration.
"Taylor Swift is absolutely right: Music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it," Ek wrote in a blog post. "We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time."
"When I hear stories about artists and songwriters who say they’ve seen little or no money from streaming and are naturally angry and frustrated, I’m really frustrated too," Ek added. "We’ve already paid more than $2 billion in royalties [since 2009] to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that’s a big problem. We will do anything we can to work with the industry to increase transparency, improve speed of payments, and give artists the opportunity to promote themselves and connect with fans — that’s our responsibility as a leader in this industry; and it’s the right thing to do."
Ek also claimed that top artists such as Swift could earn $6 million per year, but Swift's label rebutted the stat, saying Swift was paid less than $500,000 in the past 12 months.
In the time since the Spotify-Swift spat began, Google announced its YouTube subscription service, YouTube Music Key. It will allow users to listen to ad-free music offline and in the background while doing other tasks on mobile.
Nielsen Music Connect, a relatively new Nieslen platform to measure music industry behaviors, told Mash that the week ending Nov. 9 also marked the first time since Nielsen started tracking audio streams in 2004 that streams have surpassed 4 billion in one week. For video, in the same time span, video streams surpassed 2 billion.
"However, this rise in video doesn't reflect any one artist removing their content from a particular service, but instead an overall change in how today's listeners are consuming music," the report added.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC, NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH, SPOTIFY, STREAMING MUSIC, STREAMING VIDEO, TAYLOR SWIFT, YOUTUBE