Taylor Swift vs. Streaming: The Great Debate


We all love Taylor Swift, right?  Well recently there’s been even more reason to love the girl; Taylor penned a letter to Apple via her Tumblr page explaining why a three month free trial of their new streaming service will be bad news for artists, producers, and everyone involved in the record-making process.  This isn’t the first time that Taylor has been outspoken about her disapproval of the streaming model of listening to music; let’s explore Taylor’s fight for the little guys (and girls).

Image via Taylor's Tumblr

Image via Taylor’s Tumblr

Taylor started off her beef in October of 2014 when she released the hit-machine that is 1989.  She decided against putting her album on Spotify, a dominant music streaming service, much to the dismay of the company.  Tay explained that she doesn’t agree with their method; artists can only really benefit through streams from paid subscribers of the service, and even then the amount they make per stream is not enough when compared to the price of actually purchasing the song. 

Now a few months have gone by and we’re still all taking in the greatness of Taylor’s fifth album (I mean that “Bad Blood” music video was a lot to handle!).  Apple announced their own streaming service called “Apple Music” earlier this month with intentions to let customers stream music for free during the first three months of their subscription and Taylor was not pleased.

You may be wondering why Taylor Swift of all people would be concerned with the amount of money she makes given the fact that she’s at the top of her game and pretty much dominating the music scene.  In her letter to Apple, Taylor said that she’s concerned for the artists who haven’t had as much success as she has and who are trying to make a living wage off of their music.  In her own words, she explained their error with, “This is about the new artist or band…the young songwriter…the producer…[that] will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.”  She recognizes that while a free trial is nice for the consumer who doesn’t want to shell out $10-15 on a LP, it doesn’t help the artist behind that album.  It’s a double-edged sword— yes, you get to put out your music and your passion out there for public consumption, but you can’t support yourself as comfortably as you’d like. 

Image via Taylor's Tumblr

Image via Taylor’s Tumblr

Due to Taylor’s reach and powerful words, Apple execs have figured out a way to compensate the artists that they will be streaming; the company will pay the artist for their hard-work.  It’s a brave thing to put yourself out there for the whole world to hear and it was a brave thing for Taylor to stick up for those artists that aren’t in her exact position to change the way that we listen to music.  At a time when the Internet makes consumption of entertainment so convenient, we have to think about the way that we thank those artists whom we listen to on our morning commute, on the treadmill, or just lounging around the house because they impact us immensely. 

For more great reads, check out “He Named Me Malala” In Theaters This October, How To Help Others Without Spending Your Money, Ask Amy, and The Queen’s Speech

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