This week, Big Machine Records removed all of Taylor Swift’s music from Spotify.
Taylor Swift hates Spotify. This is no new news, since she took longer than almost any other pop artist to get her catalog up there. Swift hates Spotify because streaming music services make it harder for artists to make money from their music.
Great, Taylor. Except:
- You made $39 million in 2013.
- You have the fastest- selling album in the country right now.
- Your net worth is $200 million.
- You are literally GIVING MONEY AWAY (see the Taylor Swift Ice Bucket Challenge)
And everyone is not you.
I agree with Taylor: more people should pay for music. That’s why I subscribe to Spotify Premium for $10 a month. I’ve given over $100 to Spotify so far. And I am proud. I love their service. I’d pay $15 bucks a month. Hell, I might even pay 20. (Just kidding, Spotify. 20 is too much).
I’ve bought the deluxe edition of every single one of Taylor Swift’s albums. I’ve seen half of her arena tours. I have Taylor Swift notebooks, official Taylor Swift T- shirts, and Taylor Swift stationary.
The boycott doesn’t even AFFECT me. And I am mad.
Taylor isn’t taking one for the team. Taylor thinks that if she boycotts Spotify, things will improve for all. She thinks that if she and other big names (like Beyonce) withhold their very valuable music, Spotify will pay more for other artists, who maybe don’t have multimillion- dollar endorsement deals with Diet Coke and Target and Pepsi.
I would love to see people make money for their music. It’s why I buy music.
In reality, most artists don’t have the luxuries Taylor Swift has. I think it’s appalling that Taylor expected people to buy her album without even offering customers so much as a one- time listen on her Web site. But people bought her album. In droves. If most artists want their songs heard, they have to put their songs where people hear music.
Would Meghan Trainor have a #1 hit without help from Spotify? Would promoters want to book up- and- coming acts like Capitol Cities and Imagine Dragons without Spotify? Would artists like Echosmith even have a shot and being heard en masse without Spotify?
TIME thinks Taylor will lose her battle with Spotify. I don’t. Spotify existed without Taylor Swift before, and it will exist without her again.
Here’s what I don’t want:
I don’t want to see Spotify become a money farm like iTunes. When iTunes started selectively charging $1.29 instead of the universal 99 cents, I left. I also don’t want to see Spotify become a platform solely for new artists like MySpace. MySpace is still a great place to find new music, but you won’t get your top 40 fix from MySpace. Stunts like Taylor’s have historically not helped the common man.
Here’s what will happen: Spotify will either pay more or charge more for Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and any other artist selling for $1.29 on iTunes, and all the other artists will continue to scrape by.
This disgusts me because Taylor, whose father is a successful businessman, makes a stupid amount of money. She practically built Big Machine Records and they let her do almost whatever she wants. And you know Taylor Swift is no dumb shit. She’s made property investments. She’s made other investments. Taylor’s career could tank right now and she’d be financially secure the rest of her life.
Make sure artists make more money for their hard work? Yes. Damn streaming music services? No. Use your star power for good, not money. I would like to see Taylor use her influence to promote more young artists or negotiate on smaller artists’ behalves. Her move looks selfish, and I, a die- hard fan since 2008, am really disappointed in her.
I bought Taylor’s album. I paid $20. It’s not worth that much. I want my money back.
Update 11/13/ 2014: Time Magazine reports that Taylor didn’t pull her catalog from Spotify to prove a point. She did it because she thinks her music is better than everyone else’s. Thanks, Tay Tay.