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By Keith Wagstaff

As the public battle between Taylor Swift and Spotify rages on, kids still can't stream "Shake It Off" and other music stars like Jason Aldean are pulling their own songs off the music-streaming service. 

Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 American Music Awards.Kevin Winter / Today

Sadly, this can't be solved with a dance-off. Swift might only be 24 years old (and feeling 22), but she's fighting for a classic format that her parents listened to growing up: the album. 

"What you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you are saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in: that music is valuable and music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated," she said Sunday night at the American Music Awards. 

If anyone can save the album right now, it might be Taylor Swift. She sold 1.287 million copies of her latest release, "1989," in a single week, the most sold in seven days since 2002. That came after she pulled her entire catalog from Spotify in early November. 

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek denied that his company — which has around 50 million active users and 12.5 million paying subscribers — was bad for artists. 

"Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it," he wrote, claiming that Spotify pays "nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community."

He claimed that Taylor Swift stood to make $6 million from Spotify within the next year — a number Swift's camp said was unlikely, considering she only made $496,044 from the streaming service the year before. 

Paying the bills

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If Taylor Swift is the music world's upper crust, Zoë Keating is a member of the middle class. Her intricate, beautiful cello compositions — layered together with the help of computer software — have earned her plenty of fans and a good living. 

In the past nine months, she has earned $51,000 from iTunes and $52,000 from Bandcamp. Her check from Spotify? Only $1,900 for 480,000 streams. 

"Streaming is not going to save artists financially," she told TODAY. "That's a total fallacy."

With less money coming in from albums, more artists are relying on touring for their income. That might work for some, but not for Keating, whose husband is being treated for lung cancer. So she appealed to her fans, many of whom bought her latest album "Into the Trees" using Bandcamp's pay-what-you-want model to help her make a living and pay for her husband's medical bills.

Keating does not think Spotify and other streaming services are going away. But she does wish they would give artists the power to sell albums. Currently on Spotify, if you listen to something you like, there is no option to actually purchase an album from the musician who made it. 

Could Taylor Swift move Spotify towards a more artist-friendly position? 

"It's hard when an artist like Taylor Swift is talking about money, because people will say, 'Hey, you're rich,'" Keating said. "I do think that she is in a position to start a conversation about how artists make a living. I think that's very valuable and I think that she can make a difference."

The future of music 

Not everyone is sold on Swift's speeches about supporting musicians and their art. 

"I don't think Swift's move is going to change the industry, but then it isn't intended to do that," music industry analyst Mark Mulligan told TODAY. "It is squarely aimed at boosting sales of '1989.' It is a tactical short-term move, not some big long-term vision."

Even if Swift is fighting for artists, it would take more than a few protesting superstars to shift the landscape. 

"The only real way to change things would be a complete withdrawal of most kinds of music from these kinds of services," Russ Crupnick, managing partner of research firm MusicWatch, told TODAY.

"The Beatles weren't initially on iTunes, but iTunes continued to thrive," Crupnick said. "There is plenty of music to listen to on Spotify, even if you're not listening to Taylor Swift and maybe four or five other top artists."

The key to might be getting more people to actually pay $9.99 a month for Spotify Premium, which lets people stream with no ads from any device. 

"If you get enough people paying, it will run downstream to the artists and to the labels," he said. "The question is, how do you return consumers to the idea of paying for music?"

Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: