A Swift Victory

PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Ebersole via Unsplash

Dear plumbers, electricians, people who build houses;
(I know builders is the proper term but I need to whip up a bit of dramatic effect; please grant me that one.)

Dear dentists, doctors, wedding dress makers;

And all the rest of the trades and people in this world who sell their goods and services:

I’d like to please order a: haircut, air conditioner installation (plus an air conditioner), a handbag, two fillings & a 50 minute medical checkup.

Do you mind if I don’t pay you? Do you mind if I don’t pay you for three months?

You will, however, get exposure! You can pay your insurance direct debits with that, yeah? You can pay your mortgage for the week, I’m sure? And, come on, you can fill your belly with that … and even have enough to invest in your future!

That kind of thing was precisely was Apple was proposing to do with their new music streaming service.

Not pay artists as users take up a three month trial yet use the fruits of their creative talents, production and all the rest.

This un-dreamlike arrangement was not going to win many fans.

I still haven’t found a bank where the fine print of a mortgage contract reads: “Exposure and publicity readily accepted in lieu of money.” Same goes with the renting game.

Taylor Swift, for one, wasn’t a fan.

And she had the courage to speak up about it.

Embed from Getty Images

PHOTO CREDIT: Sascha Schuermann / Getty Images Entertainment

Read her Tumblr blog, entitled ‘To Apple, Love Taylor’ here.

Swift (pun happily intended) was Apple’s reply, tweeting:

And, just like that, the war was won. (Read more about in the New York Times’ article here.)

The sweet yet savvy songstress spoke up.

She didn’t – as she explained in her post – ask for this for her own royalties.

Her fifth album in, she says she’s thankful that she can support herself as well as her band, crew and management.

“This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success,” she wrote.

“This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt.”

“This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.”

All it takes is for someone to have the courage to speak up – and conditions are often changed for the better. Thanks Taylor, for doing that, and thanks Apple for listening.

We need to honour our artists – our musicians, our writers, our composers and all the rest – by reimbursing them properly. Adequately, at least.

After all, don’t plumbers invoice for their services, dentists charge for the old ‘scale and clean’ check up and electricians usually charge for putting that pendant light in? At this stage in time, exposure still isn’t a legitimate currency to pay the bills with!


Daniel Ebersole via Unsplash
Sascha Schuermann / Getty Images Entertainment

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