We’re not saying that Taylor Swift just released all her music on streaming services at midnight Friday just because her nemesis, Katy Perry, dropped her new album at midnight on Friday. However ... let’s take a look at this intriguing sequence of events.
Swift has been notoriously anti-streaming ever since she pulled all her music off Spotify in November 2014, right as she released her fifth studio album, “1989.” She told Yahoo!: “All I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and 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. 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.”
She has not budged, once, from this stance in two and a half years; even as fans clamored for her music and Spotify wrote an embarrassing love letter to win her back.
All of a sudden, on Thursday night, the “Taylor Nation” Instagram account released a statement: “In celebration of ‘1989’ selling over 10 Million Albums Worldwide and the RIAA’s 100 Million Song Certification announcement, Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services tonight at midnight.” Sure enough, all her albums were available at midnight on Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, etc.
The move comes about 12 hours after the RIAA announced this milestone, tweeting congratulations to Swift.
The news is also on the heels of Perry’s press tour for her latest album, “Witness,” in which Perry has gleefully spilled the details of her and Swift’s feud. In 2014, Swift told Rolling Stone that her song “Bad Blood” was about a female singer who tried to sabotage an arena tour. (Fans put two and two together because some of Swift’s backup dancers left her tour to join Perry.) In the past month, Perry has addressed the situation with Entertainment Weekly; blamed Swift for the feud during “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden; and in a new interview with NME, said Swift tried to “assassinate my character.” Then there’s Perry’s new single “Swish Swish,” which appears to be a direct shot back at Swift.
With Swift releasing all of her old music the same moment that Perry’s album drops, it’s the perfect way for Swift to steal her thunder. But at the same time, she can say it’s simply a way to celebrate her RIAA milestone, and we’re all reading way too much into the remarkable coincidence.
In conclusion, it’s completely petty and unbelievably savvy. Will it affect Perry’s album? That seems unlikely, although impossible to prove. It’s just another way for Swift to prove you should not mess with her, the most powerful pop star on the planet. Perry, we can imagine, will not be pleased.
After all, as Swift warned everyone in her 2010 track “Better Than Revenge,” she always gets the last word. And if Perry didn’t know this before, now she can go listen to it on the streaming service of her choice.