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Katy Perry’s ‘Witness’ narrowly beats Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ on Spotify

It was close.


Christine Friar


Posted on Jun 19, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 2:35 am CDT

Katy Perry just put another point on the board in her rivalry with Taylor Swift. But barely.

The latest plot-point in the pair’s ongoing media feud was Swift uploading her entire catalog to streaming services the same day as Perry’s album release. After months of press and promotion, Perry dropped her new album Witness on June 9. That same day, Swift surprised fans by ending a years-long streaming protest and making all of her albums available on platforms like Spotify. Though Swift released an announcement saying the decision was a reaction to fan requests, the move seemed designed to hurt Perry’s streaming numbers.

No matter what the motivation for her streaming Rumspringa was, though, Swift’s catalog definitely gave Witness a run for its money. The New York Times‘ Joe Coscarelli points out that the albums had nearly identical streaming totals for the week of June 12. According to Nielsen music, both Swift’s 1989 and Perry’s Witness raked in nearly 19 million streams that week, with Perry winning by a narrow margin.

Metrics like radio play and album purchases bumped Witness into a firm No. 1 spot on the charts, but the near-tie online definitely demonstrates the power of Swift’s gesture. 1989 reached No. 31 on the charts nearly three years after its release through the strength of its streaming numbers. And who knows how many of those 19 million plays might have gone to Perry otherwise?

Neither artist has commented on the standings, but something tells us they’re watching closely.

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*First Published: Jun 19, 2017, 4:10 pm CDT