Blog

Apple Music Might be in the Right. Here’s Why.

Posted: July 10, 2015 | the scene | apple music, metallica, napster, taylor swift | 0 Comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard of Taylor Swift’s revolution against Apple Music. For those of you who somehow managed to avoid all forms of news and social media, here’s a brief overview:

Swift wrote a critical letter doused in her usual cavity-catalyzing sweetness informing Apple Music and the world that she would not allow her latest album, 1989, to be available through the music-streaming service. The company wasn’t planning to pay artists during the free three-month trial they are offering users, and this did not sit well with Swift. The letter went on to defend smaller artists that may actually expect to be compensated and need those funds to pay their bills.

Shockingly, a company that seems to forge its own path, at times regardless of customer demand or even common sense (i.e. Adobe Flash support and USB ports on iPads), completely stopped in its tracks the minute the princess of pop stated her dissatisfaction. Apple chose to change their policy in a matter of hours, which also resulted in Swift making 1989 available on Apple Music. Am I the only one who is calling BS on this entire thing? Making sure all artists, big and small, are compensated for their services should be an obvious standard. However, isn’t it incredibly suspicious that Swift happened to protest only days before Apple Music was to launch, which also just happened to bring Apple Music tons of free publicity? With that said, publicity stunt or not, Swift makes a very valid point. Why would Apple assume musicians, who work very hard to produce quality music, would be content with no compensation for their products?

The country-crossover pop star isn’t the first to criticize digital music services. Over a decade ago, Metallica sued Napster, a music file sharing service, for committing a nearly identical assumption. Many other artists followed Metallica’s lead, and it seemed the issue had been forever put to rest. So when I heard about Apple’s attempt to try and force artists to go without pay for three months, I initially thought Apple was just being selfish and cheap. A company that has hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cash should be able to easily pay artists for three months with absolutely no problem. In my mind, the question quickly became then why would Apple feel justified not paying artists? What has changed since Metallica fought Napster over the same basic principle? Well, the entire landscape of the music industry has changed. Music can sometimes be much like a popularity contest. You win by being ever present. That is how artists gain exposure, which attracts fans that will attend shows, buy merch, and hopefully purchase albums for years to come.

I’m not arguing that artists shouldn’t be paid for their art, but I am challenging the assumption that Apple was going to use artists’ music for absolutely no compensation. Perhaps the compensation simply wasn’t directly financial. What do you guys think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Stay Metal,

Cidnee M. Walker