Taylor Swift withholds ‘1989’ album from Apple Music

“Taylor Swift’s 1989, which has not been released to any streaming services, will not be available at launch on Apple Music, either, representatives for both Swift’s label Big Machine Records and Apple confirm,” Reggie Ugwu reports for BuzzFeed.

“Only Swift’s back catalog, which is currently available on many streaming services that require users to pay for a subscription… will be found on Apple Music, the Big Machine rep said,” Ugwu reports. “In November, she removed all of her music from Spotify, the most popular on-demand streaming service, arguing that its free version devalues the art form.”

“The Big Machine rep said there are currently no plans to release 1989 to any streaming service in the near future,” Ugwu reports. “1989 has sold nearly 5 million copies since its release last November, making it the best-selling album of both last year and this one.”

Read more in the full article here.

Taylor Swift's "1989" album cover
Taylor Swift’s “1989” album cover
MacDailyNews Take: With her entire back catalog available on multiple streaming services, Swift comes off looking significantly more greedy than principled here.

That, or all of her prior work isn’t “art,” as she seems to have no issues with “devaluing” her life’s work by plopping it on Spotify.

In short, Taylor, pull your whole catalog from all streaming services or STFU. You can’t have it both ways without sacrificing your integrity.


  1. Why is she “devaluing” her older work? Should it be surprising that newer hit releases which are still selling very well be excluded? I think we can expect a lot of this from a whole bunch of artists during the three month period when Apple is paying them squat. I’m not a fan of Swift, but I can see where she’s coming from…

    1. I couldn’t agree more. If Apple wants to give 3 months away free, it shouldn’t be at artist’s expense. Although music labels are greedy, isn’t Apple being greedy in their expectation of artists and labels to basically fund their new Apple Music service for three months. This from the wealthiest company on the planet.

    2. Has someone published the Apple Music contract? How do you know that the labels and artists are not getting paid during the three-month introductory period? Do you think that it might be possible that Apple is footing the bill for this introductory period? Are you just making snap judgments from baseless assumptions?

      Personally, I could not give a crap less about Taylor Swift. But when people like Swift start playing the “value of the art” card to justify making more money when they are already raking in millions is laughable. Others have already pointed out the hypocrisy in that her older work is going to be available.

      Lots of legendary artists have given their work away for free over the years. They did not feel that it devalued their art.

      Also, we keep hearing gripes from the stars who are pulling in the big bucks. They really don’t seem to care about the multitudes of little guys who are the proverbial starving artists. Since they are not making much money, their work cannot be devalued. /s

      Any artist who measures the worth of their art in terms of $$ is not an true artist.

        1. The article says that the labels are not getting paid during the free trial period. If true, then that is their choice to sign up. But the labels cannot give away the artists work without their permission unless the artists signed really bad contracts. If the artists gave their permission, then that is their choice. If they were coerced or had no choice, then that sucks.

          Apple should have paid or, at least, shared the cost to execute this three month free trial period. I am disappointed in Apple.

      1. Totally! And what ever happened to the ‘cost of doing business’ ie: artist promotional investment…?

        She is by any measure, a product and mega business at this point in her careeer and looks like a greedy one too.

    3. I was disappointed to learn Apple played this one hard and didn’t buy out the 3 month period, especially in light of their usual stance of supporting artists. Apple can easily afford this (and I am a stock holder) and it seems to me it would create a lot of goodwill with a little modest generosity on their part.

      A total miscalculation since it unnecessarily paints Apple in a bad PR light. At this point even it they reversed that policy it would simply look like market capitulation due to the bad PR and not a genuine gesture.

        1. Like the Beatles? You have a special set of musical Tarot cards to know she will not have a very long career? At least she isn’t going the Miley Cyrus tongue wagging route. She is setting a better example and it’s her choice to withhold product and control her own destiny, for better or worse just like everyone else here. The market will decide who has staying power.

            1. Consider the promiscuous era we live in. Some are much more crass low class about it than others. And unless you are privy to her bedroom it’s doubtful you know how often she has done the nasty.

        2. I see it a little differently. Not a TS fan, but will say this – her old stuff was *MUCH* better than the new. This new pop stuff she’s doing barely qualifies as music, where the old country stuff at least had that going for it.

          So I see her as an above average musician who has now sold out and is getting by on her looks.

            1. No, grew up in PA to well to do parents. No real struggle in her life, which is why she doesn’t have any life experience to write about and her songs stink.

  2. It seems to be that it’s 3 months free from when each individual signs up. Since signing up involves just updating software I don’t imagine there will be a huge degree of staggering, but also the free offerings won’t be limited to just 3 months from launch.

    1. It does seem a little presumptuous of Apple that they’ve seemingly given very little notice of this service to so many companies. It may we be good in the long run, but Apple are doing this promo to get people signed up and locked into their services and devices, the amount they lose from 3 months free is significantly less as a percentage of their business than the music companies. I’m not going to feel sorry for music companies, but if Apple just decided to offer all apps on the app store free for 3 months I think developers would be pissed. It’s not the same admittedly because apps are essentially one time purchases, so loss of revenue would be far worse. It does seem like this hasn’t been handled as well as previous launches of music, video, etc.

  3. It’s her work. She can do with it what she wants. And she seems to be doing quite well.

    Apple is changing the music business, again. It will take some time for everyone to figure out how the new paradigm will work. But one thing I expect is that artists will eventually do better than they have with the record companies.

    I’m pretty sure she could care less on what the sentiments of some MDN commenters are. Personally, I’ll cut her some slack.

    1. I don’t think anyone would disagree that she can do anything she wants with her stuff. I think a lot of folks are just pointing out what seems to be hypocritical reasoning on her part. Of streaming devalues are, then why is it only her new more popular album that is being withheld and not all her artwork? A more honest reason to give is that “it makes better business sense”, or even the more diplomatic “I want people to get really excited about this new album, I think it’s really special, so it’s release is going to be more limited.” Instead she tried to devalue the concept of streaming and give the impression she’s above it

  4. Actually, this makes sense. It’s like the various windows for a movie release. There’s the theatrical window, then on-demand, then DVD, then premium cable, then basic cable, etc.

    So the latest release from some artists will be purchase only for as long as it’s selling, then streaming for the rest of their catalog.

      1. Nobody is preventing you from doing that.

        Using the analogy above, streaming is equivalent to “premium cable” channels.

        But of course you can still buy the music just as before.

  5. Swift is a very smart woman. I think calling her greedy for pushing to get the most she can for her product from a company with 200 billion in cash laying around is anything but greedy.

    She’s working the system that Apple is creating. Nothing wrong with that.

    Swift is no moron. I’ve read interviews with her in which she is not only extremely tech savvy, but has excellent opinions on the future of her business.

    She goes out of her way to maintain a relationship with her fans through social media which often includes one on one contact.

    1. IF you work how many days a week do you work for nothing. People who can not create seem to be jealous of those who can, and begrudge them the fruits of their labor.

  6. These same artists have made their music available for free on Spotify and others for years. They will continue to do so post Apple Music launch. Suddenly a brand new service launches without a permanent freemium model and now these artists are losing everything over a 3 month trial? Critical thinking, people. It doesn’t compute. On top of that, it’s not as if their music won’t still be available for sale in te iTunes Store. Where’s the hurt?

  7. Her daddy bought into the record company that signed her, so I wonder how much “talent” the skinny chick actually has. She looks like one of those inbred kids from the Hollows of West Virginia or something that someone gVe abate and a trip to the dentist.

    Just the latest teeny bopper idol endlessly pimped by our celebutard culture and media. Cannot imagine too many will be listening to that stuff in a few years.

    Like was said earlier “… and the horse you rode in on.”

    1. First off her father bought 1% of the company after she was signed. That 1% is worth a fortune now mostly do to Taylor, but I am not sure how sharp you are in math, But 1% does not give you much say, not nearly as much as the other 99%. So saying she only got signed because her father bought into the business is idiotic at best. He made a good investment when she got signed.

      Who will get listened to as oldies in 20, 30, or 40 years is who sells the most records now. There are millions of young people who listen to her music now and will look back at now as the best times of their lives and the music they listen to now will be apart of that. My favorite music is from the 50s and early 60s, alto I am a fan of Miss Swifts too.

      I am afraid you will be hearing her for many years even if she did not write or sing any more songs, so you might as well learn to appreciate her.

  8. Since everyone who wanted that album already owns it it will play in rotation on Apple Music since it also uses your library in the mix so who cares.

  9. She can have it both ways this is a sort of marketing campaign that draws people in and allows them to get interested in her music but then screws them to obtain her latest stuff if they don’t want to look ‘uncool’ amongst their friends. If it works expects others to copy it. Greed indeed but then thats what our societies are based on I guess.

  10. As you get older the urgency of the latest film or album release tends to diminish for all but the very very best.

    The fans will buy on Day One and the less interested will maybe buy one or two hit tracks and wait for the rest of it to go into the streaming catalogue.

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