After years of condemning most of the major streaming services—especially Spotify—for paying her fractions of a penny per play of her mind-bogglingly popular songs, Taylor Swift executed an abrupt about face today, shaking off the bad blood and allowing her music back into streaming libraries. (Other than Apple Music, anyway, which has had access to 1989 now for a couple of years.)
Why has Swift made the change? Officially, it’s to commemorate her latest RIAA milestones, which show that she’s now sold 10 million albums and been credited with 100 million songs played. But fans of high-profile music feuding have noticed that the return of Swift’s music—at midnight tonight—will also coincide with another major music release: the arrival of Katy Perry’s latest album, Witness.
So: did Swift just make a major business decision solely to show up her rival, who she’s been quietly feuding with for years? On the one hand, that’s a pretty crazy reason to change your overall digital strategy. On the other, though, it’s not like Taylor Swift isn’t a) easily rich enough to do pretty much anything she wants with her business, basically consequence-free, and b) an absolute master of the grand passive aggressive gesture. Not that we’re complaining; besides being an example of top-level shade-throwing on Swift’s part, it means we can finally stream “Shake It Off” without needing an Apple account.