Shake it off Taylor, and share the love!
Monday, November 3rd was a sad day for Taylor Swift fans when the country music/pop star pulled all of her past albums from Spotify (and refused to allow streaming for 1989 as well).
“If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
For some more context, “Shake It Off”, her hit single from 1989, was the service’s most-played track at the time. But for Taylor, allowing “Shake It Off” on Spotify was less of an achievement. She said “I thought, ‘I will try this; I’ll see how it feels.’ It didn’t feel right to me. I felt like I was saying to my fans, ‘If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it’s theirs now and they don’t have to pay for it.’ I didn’t like the perception that it was putting forth. And so I decided to change the way I was doing things.
You may recall Taylor’s op-ed piece in the Wall Stree Journal, in which she wrote, “the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently.”
If we look at Taylor’s defensive stance against music streaming services like Spotify, in favor of hardcopy album sales (because #art), cut and dry it all comes down to money as much as it supposedly comes down to #art.
Do you think Taylor Swift will be the ultimate game-changer in the music industry, given the current climate? Do you think Taylor’s decision to try and uphold the integrity of the creators of the music was fair? Or, despite all her wonderful qualities, was it a selfish move against her fans?
Whether it was because of her decision against Spotify or not, Taylor’s latest album is paying off really well; 1989 has the highest first-week sales number since 2002.