This is weird: Taylor Swift was briefly back on Spotify.
With just one song, from her 2012 album Red. And with the copyright attributed to paedophile former rock star Ian Watkins and his band, Lostprophets.
As of Monday morning, I Knew You Were Trouble had been live on Spotify for three days, with, according to the company’s public play count, 39,681,189 plays, showing that the system correctly linked the song to the previous copy correctly attributed to Taylor Swift. The vast majority of the 39m plays will have come from that legitimate version.
But shortly after the Guardian asked Spotify about it, the song was taken down again. It sat at the top of Lostprophet’s charts, with no obvious acknowledgement of Taylor Swift anywhere on the site. The “single’s” artwork was a screenshot of Canadian cartoon Scaredy Squirrel with the Lostprophets logo superimposed.
Apparently as a result, I Knew You Were Trouble also reappeared on Taylor Swift’s own Spotify page, previously only home to her contributions to film soundtracks and other compilations since she pulled her own music from the streaming service in protest at its non-negotiable presence in the free tier of Spotify’s subscriptions.
Bizarrely for such a famously detail-focused musician, the Lostprophets-attributed version of Swift’s song has been floating around on the internet for over a month. It was uploaded to YouTube in October by user Jared Brown, who has uploaded similar mislabeled tracks to his channel, such as a recording of Ice Ice Baby attributed to Eminem.
The YouTube video of Trouble contains a link to an Amazon Music page with the exhortation to pre-order “the last song they ever recorded”. The Amazon version of the song also went live on 4 December. And the song is also on the iTunes store.
A Spotify spokeswoman said the situation was “very weird” , and told the Guardian that:
The track in question was delivered to us by a provider, whose responsibility it is to ensure that content delivered to Spotify is fully licensed and in compliance with our Infringement Policy. We take the integrity of our catalogue very seriously, and will immediately remove any content that is found to be incorrectly licensed or attributed to the incorrect artist or composer.
The track was taken down as soon as it was discovered (3 days after it was delivered), and we will be taking the matter further with the provider who delivered this track.
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