Taylor Swift recently wrote a letter to Apple Music protesting against the unfair use of her material for their new streaming service while not giving her a cent. Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple swayed Apples decision to not pay the artists for their three-month trial and in doing so extended her reach as an artist and kept her relevant.
Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple was a much-needed look at Apple’s ethical value as a company and honed in music as a commodity rather than an art. Apple is a company that strives for honest and innovative ways to keep up with the technologic market they are a part of. They’ve been very innovative in the past starting with iTunes and the iPod, as opposed to Microsoft media player and Zune. Apple Music is virtually indistinguishable from Spotify. Other than Apple Music now has Taylor Swifts 1989 it is relatively the same catalog. Both streaming services have around 30,000,000 songs and one of the only differentiating features is that if you have Siri on your iPhone you can tell your phone what you want to hear and Apple music will find it in it’s extensive catalog and play the song you requested.
Record labels such as XL recordings (Adele) and Domino (Arctic Monkeys) have spoken out against Apple Music’s three-month free trial saying that it would leave them crippled. While other artists in an economic race to the bottom have jumped on the chance to be featured above other artists hoping the exposure they get from Apple Music will give their careers a needed boost. This however is a fallacy; for example One Direction charges ticket prices that border on extortion while local artists are willing to play for free. Artists must become an escort service for the wealthy to actually get anywhere. Being too easy for exposure gets an artist nowhere.
Taylor Swift said that consumers do not ask Apple for free phones why should Apple ask Taylor Swift for free music, which seems to be a false comparison because the relationship of Taylor Swift to Apple is very different then Apple to consumers. A better suggestion might have been Apple doesn’t ask any of its service providers to provide for free why should another business relationship be any different (though I would’ve just left that part out completely).
Overall I applaud Taylor Swift for maintaining her image while bringing to light some serious issues in the music industry. If she had not written this letter it probably never would’ve been reversed as a decision.