Taylor Swift recently pulled her content from Spotify as has been widely reported. Yesterday, she finally spoke out about her actions to Yahoo Music. I just wanted to pass comment on a few things she said in her interview regarding music streaming.
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.
Ok, maybe she has a point on this one streaming is a bit of an experiment but is it a necessary one? I think it is, before streaming became mainstream (and it is still happening) as a general trend record sales are falling and the music industry as a whole generates less income. Streaming services have made a lot of people who previously would have simply pirated content a cost effective way of paying for content, and that is extra money that would not have been passed back to the record labels, song writers and artists previously. Let’s be clear, the music industry was ruined way before streaming was invented, so streaming I believe is part of the solution not the problem.
And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.
I’m interested to know does she hold the same morals for everything. Lets think of free to view TV channels which are advert supported just like the Free Spotify tier. Are they “fair” on the people who make the shows?
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.”
This is the worst sentence of the interview. Let’s go with the painting idea and draw comparisons to how music streaming works. So I make a painting, I have two options to make money from it, I either sell it to someone (ownership) or I display it somewhere and make money from people viewing it (licensing). For purpose of argument, I have an infinite amount of identical paintings to sell to people just like with music downloads. Ownership is the easy option, I sell my painting to someone and get a lump sum (one-off) payment from them. They then keep my painting and I never see them again. If I decide to license my painting, lets say to a museum that acts like a music streaming site, I give them the painting and they display it for me. I then get paid every time someone views my painting, so ultimately I get money slower but for much longer (in fact as long as they display the painting for). The analogy given in the quote above is ridiculous, at no point does anyone on a streaming service own anything, they can’t simply run away with a part of it. If you tried to rip a corner of any painting in a music I am pretty sure you would get arrested and have a huge bill to pay for. The fact of the matter is they do have to pay for it, streaming services cost money (or they generate money through advertising), it’s just not money in the same way as it has been historically made in the music industry.
Evolution has taught us adapt or die out, I have a feeling the same thing is coming in the music industry too.