Todd Spangler NY Digital Editor @xpangler
Taylor Swift strikes again.
Sony Music Entertainment artists including One Direction, Pitbull, Calvin Harris and Carrie Underwood could be dropping out of free-music streaming queues, in the wake of Swift’s company pulling her entire catalog from Spotify.
The decision by Swift’s Big Machine Records to yank the pop star’s music from Spotify has prompted Sony Music Entertainment to reconsider whether it will continue to license songs for free, ad-supported music services, according to Kevin Kelleher, EVP and CFO of Sony Music.
After Swift spurned Spotify, “a lot of conversation has taken place over the last week in the light of that,” said Kelleher, speaking at Sony’s investor relations day Tuesday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“The key question is, are the free, ad-supported services taking away from how quickly and to what extent we can grow those paid services?” Kelleher said. “What it all really comes down to is how much value are the music company and the artist getting from the different consumption methods.”
At the same time, Sony is “very encouraged” by the rise subscription-based streaming services, Kelleher added. Last week, Google announced YouTube Music Key, which will offer more than 30 million songs — including Taylor Swift tunes — for an intro price of $7.99 per month (versus a regular $9.99 monthly).
Sony said it expects revenue for the music group to be $4.8 billion to $5.2 billion for the 2017-18 fiscal year. That would be flat or up to 8 percent growth compared with $4.8 billion projected for the 12 months ending in March 2015.
Earlier this month, Taylor Swift’s songs were removed from Spotify a week after the release of her album “1989.” Her company said the artist has earned less than $500,000 from U.S. streaming-music services this year, responding to a claim by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek that Swift could have pulled in $6 million if her music had remained on the service.