Taylor, What-What-What Are You Doing?

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November 10, 2014 by Roe

Taylor Swift has one foot in Country, the other in Pop – Okay, maybe both feet in Pop and is in the midst of closing the door on Country. Betraying your roots: First mistake. Although I have to say, I’ve never personally held that against her. Just seems like a natural progression of things once you’ve been in Top40 for awhile. It’s where the money is. And trust me, Taylor Swift is definitely getting a big piece of the pie. When an artist is in Country or Pop (or in her case both), you don’t really need to worry about where the money’s coming from. Your tours will sell out, people will buy your album on iTunes and/or CD, people buy merch, etc. You’ll probably recoup all, if not most of your costs. Why Taylor Swift pulled all of her material from Spotify is beyond me (especially when it was recently announced she would have earned 6 million dollars in a year based on Spotify streams alone?!). Plenty of bands out there touring year-round, making little to nothing have their music on Spotify. Why you gotta be so narrow-minded?

I can’t help but feel I’ve been marginalized by an pretentious, elite 1% prevented to listening and absorbing music through my favorite and most convenient/economical method of doing so – Second mistake. You’ll lose fans and followers that way. She’s pretty much lost me and been a huge fan for about 4 years.

Coincidentally, I actually had planned to listen to 1989 the day she pulled everything. And here I am saying, “she”. Ha! I bet this was all headed up and encouraged by her label, big business, etc. Now I have no plans to listen to it. Guess I’ll never know what it sounds like, Taylor. And I’m not gonna hunt for it on YouTube. What am I, 10?

For such a wonderful young woman, singer-songwriter, musician, and lyricist she sure seems to have the ideals of a white-haired old man (Dare I say, outdated record executive?).

I’m a huge proponent of music subscription streaming sites. I think they’re a great thing that really curbed a lot of illegal downloading and ended up turning a profit for artists who were originally seeing nothing, and brought profits up for artists whose income was on a steady decline. I used to download music illegally – because it was TOO EASY. How could you not? Especially in your teen years when every musical realm was just opening themselves up to you. Boot up Frostwire, Limewire and voila! How else would I have discovered The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Saves The Day, 2Pac, Biggie, etc? I heard a song, liked it, and went to find more. I hunted to complete album tracklistings. I’m a broke teenager. I can’t just buy all the albums that I want to check out. I needed to test the waters first, which is exactly what I can do on Spotify now, legally; I’m sure there’re hundreds of teenagers who are just like my teenage self – searching for more, hungry for another tune to strum on their heartstrings. And Spotify (maybe Pandora and YouTube too) is how they find it.

Let me breakdown two ways where music subscription streaming sites can be beneficial for artists (even if users aren’t paying a cent). These are things I have experienced and wholeheartedly believe:

  1. New discovery can happen within seconds – I was listening to a Spotify curated playlist and ended up listening to this track by DJ named Wax Tailor. I immediately fell in love with it, prompting me to check out his entire discography – which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
  2. Discovery does not have to be restricted to to the Spotify realm, but can result in Facebook likes, Twitter follows, concert attendance, and the eventual purchase of the physical album – This summer I fell in love with an album by band called Weatherbox (a discovery prompted by chatter via other blogs I follow). The record had such a profound impact on me that I bought a ticket to see them live AND THEN bought the vinyl record at the show. 

So maybe it in the future I’ll look for some Weatherbox merch when I have some money to spend. Or maybe if Wax Tailor comes to the States, I’ll be more likely to buy a ticket. This is how to business works now. If the music doesn’t grab me (the consumer), I move on. Why should I commit and invest in a body of work when I don’t even know if I’ll like it? Time and money are more precious now more than ever.

When I like the music or the artist and overwhelming amount, then I will buy the physical copy. If it doesn’t move me, I’ll stream it from time to time, wash my hands, and that’s that.

And Taylor, Spotify is not like stealing a piece of art! Get over yourself! Spotify is like being able to view a work of art that is in a museum, on the Internet. You can still see the painting or the sculpture without having to leave your house or spend a dime, but to experience it – well, you have to go the museum, pay the ticket price, get out of your house. Maybe if it moves you enough, you’ll buy a replica of the piece.

If I were to go to the Met Museum, I would be smart to maybe glance at a few exhibits online and make plans with the intentions to go to that exhibit – because it would be insane for me to peruse the entire museum, hoping something will grab me. There’s too many things there! Like Spotify! Too many artists, too many tracks, not enough time.

Taylor Swift may think she can be an exception because of her elite, A-list status but she just made the worst career move of her life, especially when taking into account her young fanbase. Spotify is the way. iTunes will eventually become near to obsolete and everyone (young and old) is gravitating towards these sites.

Here’s the thing Taylor: I’m not gonna buy your album. And I have 0 plans of seeing you on tour any time soon. When you remove all your music from Spotify like a grump, that’s a turn off. How greedy and self-centered are you? You have enough money as it is. Also, Spotify is not some “grand experiment”; It is a revolutionary tool that is on the road to compensating artists appropriately. The proper wages aren’t there yet. That much is clear. But the more subscribers, the more profit potential there will be in the future. The old model is dead. Stop pretending like it still exists just because you said so.


USA Today: Spotify CEO to Taylor Swift: Isn’t $6 million enough? –http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/11/11/spotify-ceo-to-taylor-swift-is-6-million-enough/18854607/

Stereogum: Taylor Swift Discusses Spotify Stance, Swiftamine Sketch –http://www.stereogum.com/1717177/taylor-swift-discusses-spotify-stance-swiftamine-sketch/news/

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