The controversy over Taylor Swift pulling all her music off Spotify has sparked an interesting question beyond the fair compensation for artists’ debate- do companies have any real influence over how people are choosing to consume their products, or is it now, as many have accepted, completely technology driven? Many have concluded that Swift’s decision to pull all her music off Spotify will be a short-term tactical decision more than anything else, to drive physical album sales during her album 1989’s first week of release. Indeed Rolling Stone reported her album sales dropped 69% in the second week- from 1.287million down to 402,000 copies.’s Jacob Davidson was one of the first to declare Taylor Swift will lose her battle with Spotify, or perhaps in a larger sense, her resistance against the reality that the market for music consumption is now predominantly online and mobile; technology has seen to a shift in how people are consuming products including music. The Internet has all but eliminated the concept of scarcity, and new technology can either facilitate piracy or come up with better alternatives that will incentivise consumers to pay for their product.

Spotify falls in the latter category, and interestingly Bono also came to Spotify’s defence, commenting that I think artists should be paid way more than they are, but the greatest way you serve your songs is to get them heard.” While this may be a lesser issue for a celebrity like Swift, Spotify arguably remains a useful discovery tool for many artists looking to connect with and grow their audiences.’s article noted “if you say ‘hey I don’t want to be on streaming because I sort of object to the way it tastes,’ you’re kind of ignoring where the whole audience is.” Apple seems to agree, having quietly purchased music streaming company Beats Music in a $2 billion deal earlier this year, with predictions it will be relaunched as part of Itunes next year. Tellingly, digital downloads at Apple Itunes fell by 13 to 14 percent this year, a sharp drop in comparison to 2013, where global revenue only fell by 2.1 percent.

The simple fact is that Spotify is a viable business model because there is a market for their product, and if they provide a quality service, consumers are willing to pay a fee for the premium version. With or without platforms like Spotify, it is a fact that there has been a fundamental shift in how people consume music. Technology is moving very quickly to cater for consumers needs, and all businesses, including those in the music industry need to adapt for this change. Indeed the best way for artists to increase their royalties from streaming services like Spotify, is to allow these disruptive platforms to grow, and over time improve their monetisation methods.