After a very public disagreement with tiny startup tech company Apple regarding the payment of royalties to artists, Taylor Swift announced today that her latest album, 1989, will be available on Apple Music. “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you Apple, for your change of heart,” Swift says.
According Digital Spy, Swift has stated that the deal is “not exclusive,” but listeners probably shouldn’t expect to hear her music on Spotify any time soon. Swift withdrew her music from Spotify last year, stating, Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free…” According to The Guardian, in 2012, “Swift had initially refused to release her album Red on Spotify, criticizing the fact that the artists receive between $0.006 and $0.0084 per song play.” The details of T. Swift’s deal with Apple are not currently available, and the monetary difference between what Spotify pays and what Apple pays is uncertain. However, the Woodwards and Bernsteins of Twitter think that something ain’t stirrin’ in the Kool-Aid.
According to E! Online, Twitter has been abuzz with users suggesting that the T. Swift/Apple feud is nothing more than publicity stunt concocted for Apple’s new streaming service as well as Swift’s ongoing 1989 Tour:
— Jack Appleby (@JackMEB) June 25, 2015
Corporate conspiracy theory: Apple & Taylor Swift manufactured this whole thing. Apple looks more in touch & generous, & Tay looks POWERFUL.
— Personal Brand Pizza (@hiddeninpublic) June 22, 2015
The timing is a bit suspect, sure. Apple Music is set to launch June 30th, and some silly pop star surely couldn’t have the wherewithal to bring a corporate entity to its knees…could she? Perhaps “Personal Brand Pizza” is our generation’s Deep Throat, or maybe Taylor Swift is more powerful than the Emperor thought.
The bottom line? Apple is going to make money, T. Swift is going to make money, and listeners are going to spend money. There are plenty of independent artists who feel that they need to be paid for their art, even if it is simply drink tickets and a cut of the door. Swift may be big time, but she wants to get paid as well, and is perhaps just finding the right way to do it in the new era of streaming music.