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Taylor Swift’s latest album will be added to streaming services including Spotify on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter, three weeks after its release.
The move follows a strategy to initially restrict Ms Swift’s new music to physical sales and digital downloads that has bucked the industry-wide tilt towards streaming as the format of the future.
Spotify’s Troy Carter said her latest streaming boycott “sets the industry back a little bit”, but it has paid off handsomely. Reputation, Swift’s sixth studio album, achieved an increasingly-rare blockbuster debut – in its first week selling more than the other top 200 albums combined. More than 2m people globally have bought a copy since its release on November 10, easily making it the fastest and highest-selling album of the year.
However, the three-week window for Reputation is much shorter than that of her last album, 1989, which was kept from streaming for years, and that of Adele’s 25, released in 2015, which was withheld for seven months.
The shorter boycott comes as streaming services have taken on a powerful position similar to radio in determining popular music through their playlists – which command tens of millions of listeners – and as Spotify and Apple Music’s fast growth is credited with helping turn around music revenues.
Ms Swift’s decision to move more quickly to streaming may help keep Reputation at the top of the charts for a third week as it faces competition from U2′s “Songs of Experience”, which debuts on Friday.
Reputation sold 1.216m copies in its first week and another 232,000 in its second week in the US, according to Nielsen.