Exactly three weeks after its release, Taylor Swift's Reputation will hit all streaming services on Friday, Nov. 30, sources told Variety. And Swift also confirmed the news on her Instagram page, so fans who have been waiting to listen on Spotify and Apple Music can finally rejoice. It's an announcement that signals a change of tides for the singer, who in the past has had a contentious relationship with such platforms. But now, it seems any disputes have officially subsided.
After the release of her fifth album, 1989, in 2014, Swift pulled her entire discography from Spotify’s archives, citing their low royalties and refusal to make certain songs more expensive to access than others. "It's my opinion that music should not be free," Swift wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal about the decision. At the time, she was at the height of her popularity thus far, and the move was a major setback for Spotify, but neither party conceded, and her records remained absent from the service for three years.
In 2015, she directed similar criticism toward Apple Music, decrying their failure to pay artists royalties during users' free three-month trial periods. That time, though, she got different results: Apple executive Eddy Cue told Billboard he personally called Swift to let her know they'd heard her concerns and had decided to change their policy. In response, Swift again made 1989 available on Apple Music, and has since forged a close partnership with the company. The separation from Spotify lasted much longer, and it wasn't until last June that Swift finally reinstated her catalog on the platform. The only reason given was that it was a "thank you" to fans in celebration of Swift selling 100 million songs worldwide.
Of course, Swift's renewed relationship with streaming services doesn't mean her records are automatically outputted to their sites. Whatever your opinion on the singer may be, she's a savvy, calculated businesswoman, and with that comes careful strategy. In Reputation's case, that seemed to mean maximizing sales. Insiders claimed to Variety that she likely held off for a few weeks in order to amplify the amount of money she could make from physical records' much-higher profit margin.
And according to The New York Times, it worked: Reputation sold 1,216,000 copies in the U.S. within its first week, and another 232,000 the next. Factoring in downloads of individual tracks and the smattering of singles that were available for streaming, that brings Reputation's total sales to just under 1.5 million copies in its first two weeks, making it already the bestselling album of the year. She also sold two print magazines with the CD inside, worked with UPS, and formed a partnership with Ticketmaster that promised fans that the more merchandise and CDs they bought, the better chance they'd have at scoring concert tickets.
With her physical sales secured, Swift can now turn her attention to other markets, like her position on the charts. Reputation debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and managed to keep that spot in its second week. But when U2's Songs of Experience — the band's first album in more than three years — arrives on Friday, she'll face some competition.
Moving Reputation to streaming services might help give it the attention boost needed to ensure it maintains the top slot. Moreover, tickets for Swift's Reputation tour — a five-month world trek beginning in May — are scheduled to go on sale Dec. 13, less than two weeks away. Putting the record on streaming services should also help drum up attention there.
So, there seem to be a lot more logistics behind Reputation's arrival on streaming platforms than fans may have thought. But fortunately for them, it just means increased access to the record. And what's a little behind-scenes business if it means you can now bump Swift's newest songs?