What’s the easiest way to identify a Swiftie? By our ability to refute any controversy surrounding Taylor Swift with facts and logic.
This week’s argument, in true Swiftie fashion–Taylor Swift vs. Spotify:
Taylor Swift is the biggest international superstar right now. She is known in every corner of the globe. Her fifth album, 1989, has sold over 2 million copies in its first month since being released on October 27th, 2014. On her website, she announced The 1989 World Tour about a week after the album dropped, a stadium exclusive tour to maximize fan attendance (for which some shows have already sold out). According to Forbes Magazine, she is the first woman to replace herself on the Billboard Hot 100 (her latest single Blank Space replacing her first, Shake It Off). Talk about some huge accomplishments.
Recently, Taylor Swift has sparked controversy surrounding the music industry for her decision to pull her entire discography off of the popular music-streaming service, Spotify.
According to Rolling Stone, Swift stated “I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.” To her and musicians alike, music is a form of art, and as artists they should be compensated accordingly. Of course there are critics (where would we be without them?) who question why Taylor Swift needs more money, even though she already makes millions. While this is an absolutely valid point, her decision does not only affect her own financial status. Tons of people have to work together, using their own individual expertise, to create and put out an album. Where would the music business be without the producers, engineers, writers, co-writers, artists etc. that are involved in the process? Just because the very few artists, who are the face of the music, earn a hefty amount, does not mean there are not others behind the scenes counting on that money just to pay the bills. It is important that every person in the music industry be rightly compensated. It’s as simple as that.
Rolling Stone also quoted the head of Taylor’s record label, Scott Borchetta as saying “If this fan went and purchased the record, CD, iTunes, wherever, and then their friends go, ‘why did you pay for it? It’s free on Spotify,’ we’re being completely disrespectful to that superfan.” People get away with listening to loads of music on these music-streaming programs, and creators of this form of art are barely making anything off of it. Coming from someone with a deeply engrained love for Taylor Swift and who bought four physical copies of 1989 and one digital copy, it’s unfair. Fans buy albums as an investment in the artist’s career. I bought 1989 (other than the fact that I love the songs) because I want Taylor Swift to continue making music. I want albums six, seven, and eight. Services like Spotify make it unfair to me and my fellow fans because they are undermining our investment into Taylor and her musical empire (also true of any other artist/fan base).
The music industry is in complete turmoil, and it has been for a considerable amount of time. Why? Because people don’t see music as an art or a business investment any longer. Music-streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora perpetuate this apathetic and indifferent attitude toward the consumption of music. Though these streaming websites do have their place within the music world by helping lesser-known artists get attention, they ultimately cause more damage in the bigger picture. Creating music is not possible without money. If the music industry doesn’t think an album will sell or make money, they won’t bother to risk making it just to lose money (for thousands of people within the business, not just the artists).
Taylor Swift is not only looking out for her own financial status, as well as that of others, she is simultaneously trying to save the music industry. She very well may be the business’ only hope, considering album sales of any other artist cannot even compare to that of 1989 (the only platinum album of the year). For her latest album, she took inspiration from the decade for which the album was named–the 80s. The sound is like nothing she has ever done before, and completely different from her contemporary competition. No wonder 1989 further catapulted her to such success, it has that nostalgia factor (which is an amazing marketing tool in itself).
With this album, she wanted to create a real tribute to and feel of the 80s music while immersing listeners in her iconic Taylor Swift lyrics (those who argue that she’s a “sell out” clearly have not listened to her music at all, just because her sound is different doesn’t mean the themes are). Along with that, in the 80s, streaming music did not exist. If anyone wanted to listen to music (other than sporadic songs on the radio) he or she had to buy an entire album. It was an experience. By removing her discography from Spotify, she is bringing back that experience of listening to an album for the first time (and all the times after that). She wants to put the value back in music. She wants to bring back something beautiful.
Recently, Swift received the first-ever Dick Clark Award For Excellence at the 2014 American Music Awards. In her acceptance speech, she really emphasized the importance of entire albums.
“What you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you are saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in: that music is valuable and music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated.” – Taylor Swift
Below is a video clip from which I quoted her acceptance speech at the 2014 American Music Awards:
Also, some reactions to her speech:
With the presentation of facts (and informed opinions), I rest my case. Regardless of personal opinion on Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her music from Spotify, there is a reason she sold over 2 million albums in this day and age without the help of streaming. Whether it be her business decisions or her loyal fans (probably a good mix of both), clearly, she’s doing something right.
Taylor Swift Public Service Announcement:
Swiftie Defense Squad out.
ABC News. “Taylor Swift Pulls Her Music Off Spotify.” Online video clip. YouTube.YoutTube, 4 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014
“ACTUAL ANGEL TAYLOR SWIFT STRIKES AGAIN.” Everything Has Changed. Tumblr, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
American Music Awards. “American Music Awards 2014 Full Show: Taylor Swift Wins ‘Dick Clark Award For Excellence.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.
Bostic, Daniel (debostic). “’Music is valuable and music should be consumed in albums.’*cough Spotify cough* – @taylorswift13 #AMA.” 23 Nov. 2014, 10:18 p.m.Tweet.
Knopper, Steve. “Taylor Swift Pulled Music From Spotify for ‘Superfan Who Wants to Invest,’ Says Rep.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone Magazine, 8 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014
McIntyre, Hugh. “Taylor Swift Becomes The First Woman To Replace Herself At Number One.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
O’Malley Greenburg, Zack. “Why Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ Could Be The Last Platinum Album Ever.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
Reagan, Courtney (CourtReagan). “.@taylorswift13 just took a swing @Spotify in that acceptance speech, and as a purchaser of new album, I’m ok with that #AMA.” 23 Nov. 2014, 10:22 p.m. Tweet.
Swift, Taylor. “Style.”1989. Big Machine Records, 2014. CD.
Taylor Swift Defense Squad. Digital image. Wonderstruck;. Tumblr, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.