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To Stream, Or Not To Stream…

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First published www.nielsen.com


Taylor Swift is making big waves this week. Not only did she sell nearly 1.3 million copies of her album “1989” in its debut week—an impressive statistic considering no other album released this year has sold more than a million—but she also pulled her entire catalog, save one song, from the streaming service Spotify.

Swift joins a number of artists who are critical of the streaming business model, though she is one of only a few powerhouses with the weight and influence to take action in such an impactful—and newsworthy—way. Many noteworthy hold-outs, including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Garth Brooks, ultimately made their music available to stream, and many more employ a “windowing” strategy. In other words, they withhold a new release from streaming services for the first several weeks in an effort to boost sales. But with 79% of the U.S. population now listening to music online, what’s the impact on fans of not having music available for streaming? Specifically, what do consumers do when they can’t find their favorite artists’ music on an on-demand streaming platform?

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