If I wore a hat, it would be off to Taylor Swift.
I know everyone loves Spotify and loves having access to loads and loads of music through their smartphone or work PC but Spotify has been notorious for paying very little to artists while making insane profits off their backs. Sure, some people pay for premium memberships to allow them better access but artists are paid fractions of pennies for each play of a song. That doesn’t really make it worthwhile for them to allow their catalog to be streamed for free.
There is a myth in the modern world that says putting your music out there for free will generate more business for you through sales of albums, concert tickets, merchandise, and other ancillary revenue streams. However, looking around the landscape, there seem to be a hell of a lot less bands playing in arenas and selling five million albums, so how does this logic add up? In fact, Taylor will be the first artist to have an album go platinum in 2014 and that took until November!
Another myth is that streaming prevents piracy. Well, if a consumer isn’t paying for the music either way, what’s the difference? Fans will buy the album. Thieves will steal it via torrents. Trend riders will stream it. That’s today’s musical ecosystem.
As far as Taylor’s music is concerned, I love her Speak Now album from 2010. There were two songs I could do without but the other 12 were great pop rock. I wasn’t as smitten with Red in 2012. The singles were the absolute worst songs on the album by miles, especially considering she collaborated with talent like Butch Walker and Dan Wilson (Semisonic) on other tracks. Despite my mixed feelings about Red, I was curious about her plans to release a blatant pop album this year. I was hesitant but I bought 1989 last week and I’m pleased to say I think the album is great. Taylor said this record was influenced by 80’s pop, and I’m a shameless fan of 80’s pop so I was willing to give it a shot and it worked out for me.
By the way, for those of you who refuse to appreciate anything in the Top 40, give Taylor Swift credit for keeping CDs alive. Her last four releases had custom versions available at Target, all of which had exclusive tracks. She could have done this through iTunes which would have bolstered digital sales, instead she put them out on CD and millions more CDs have been sold in the US in the last few years as a result, keeping it as a viable format for a little while longer. Thank you, Taylor Swift.
Artistic intentions aside, music is a commodity and should be paid for the same way gasoline, mustard, and condoms are. Let’s hope more big sellers follow suit and stop pandering to those who think all music should be free. Fuck those people. Kudos to Bob Seger, AC/DC, The Black Keys, Garth Brooks, and The Beatles for not streaming their music.
Here is a link to the original article I read, shared by my former guitar teacher Chris Buono. This is all my opinion and I’m generally annoyed by sites who are essentially news aggregates that use click bait headlines to get attention so if you want details on this news, check out the article.
Maybe I should wrap this up by saying I’m now going to party like it’s 1989.
But that would be lame.