Swift wasn't exactly looking out for the little guy in her letter to Apple
Apple iTunes is set to launch their Apple Music streaming service on June 30, 2015. Apple planned to offer a free 90 day trial period for customers, without paying any royalties to the artists during the trial period.
Last Sunday, everyone’s favorite pop tart Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple and posted it on Instagram. By Sunday night, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president Tweeted “#AppleMusic will pay artists for streaming, even during the free trial period.”
Swift has been praised for her letter and for using her business leverage to influence a behemoth corporation to change its policies. It is the only side you hear in the media; Taylor Swift good, Apple bad. No one for a second thought they were both acting on behalf of their selfish selves.
On one hand you have the world’s wealthiest corporation. Apple is worth around $700 billion at last check. Pretty well off for a corporation. Swift on the other hand is the world’s top selling artist. Her net worth is already estimated at $200 million.
More than anything, Swift likes to get paid. There isn’t one aspect of Swift’s career as an artist that isn’t for sale. From all her sponsors like Diet Coke, Covergirl, Subway, Etc. to her brand of safe (and boring) country/pop music about relationships.
Apple is not the first company to get dissed by Swift either. She pulled her music from Spotify because she doesn’t think music streaming services appropriately value her art. In other words they don’t pay enough. Well, now that Apple will pay artists during the trial period, Swift is on board with them. Some even think they conspired together.
In her letter to Apple, Taylor Swift wrote “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” fair enough. She went on to say “This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.” Yeah, bullshit.
Swift’s anger at Apple reminds me a lot of Metallica’s anger (and lawsuit) towards Napster. A wealthy band complaining about a paycheck while at the time, the little guy just wanted their music heard. That’s why Metallica was ridiculed to no end. And yet Swift is praised for doing virtually the same thing.
Swift knows absolutely nothing about struggling in the music industry. She has been for sale since the age of 16 and she’s been a hot commodity ever since. At least Metallica paid their dues before selling out.
A new and unknown artist stands to make nothing off of Spotify or Apple because they aren’t known yet, few people will be streaming their songs. Swift on the other hand could make big bucks in three months. The radio industry isn’t that different actually. Apps like Spotify and Apple put you in control of your own radio station. Paying royalties for airplay isn’t a new concept.
Bands have adapted to the times we live in. It’s why YouTube is full of free underground music and why services like Spotify exist. It’s how the smaller bands get their name out there. Let’s not forget that a CD is only a commercial for the live show where the real money and exposure is made.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Apple and I don’t hate Taylor Swift (at least not as a person). If anyone can pay artists, it’s Apple. What I don’t like to see is a corporation bowing to Swift Incorporated. Apple should have done the right thing from the start so the phony bologna Taylor Swift “little guy” hero fable didn’t need to be written in the first place.