Taylor Swift and the future of music

By GabboT (Taylor Swift 101) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Taylor Swift sure is killing it right now and to prove that, after writing To Apple, Love Taylor a post explaining why she won’t be putting her catalog in Apple Music:

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

The unthinkable happened: Apple actually listened.

That’s senior vice-president of Apple, Inc Eddy Cue by the way.

In the past year, Taylor Swift proved to be a very canny business woman and someone who really is in full control of her image and her brand. It wasn’t something I truly appreciated until recently, and until I learned why she pulled her whole catalog from Spotify.

In an Op-Ed piece in Wall Street Journal she goes to the very heart of why she putting her music in Spotify was not working for her:

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

Taylor later reiterated in Time her reason for leaving the popular streaming service:

Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales.

With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created. On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.

Taylor believes in the value of her music and its a philosophy she wants other young artists to share, that their art and music shouldn’t be something that should be undervalued and given out for free.

Taylor Swift also knows the value of fans its something she realized even back in 2005 when she was managing her own MySpace account. She’s gone from MySpace to twitter to tumblr and because of that she has the pulse of her audience as she brilliantly explained in an Elle Magazine interview about 1989:

“I knew that I was doing something that I fully believed in when I was confronted with these people on my team, who were only going by what they knew―which is that there hasn’t been a successful country-to-pop crossover, really ever, who has sold as well as their country career did. They’d say “You’re not going to sell as much.” and I would say, “I don’t care. This is the album I made, this is what I’m going to call it, this is how I’m going to label it.” I knew that I’d made songs that my fans would like; I was like, “You guys don’t know them like I do. You sit in an office, I’m out there at shows with them, I’m on tumblr talking to them, I know what they want from me.” Thank God it worked out. If we’d sold one album less than a million in the first week, it would have been two years of “Taylor, we told you.” So glad we sold almost 1.3 [million] in the first week.” quote

Again everything she says here is not news as she mentioned— its something she said and stood for back in July 2014: she believes that music is an art form that should be valued, and albums are the purest forms to hear her musical expression.

She believes that fans are the truest keys to success and that in the coming years artists, musicians, and actors will be given deals because of the number of fans they have and that in the current and future musical landscape musical genres are fading.

So far all of Taylor’s bets have paid off.

And honestly, I can’t wait to see what she comes up next.