Taylor Swift is backing herself into a corner

“I think it’s important to note that Taylor Swift knows exactly what she is doing. Beginning with her WSJ op-ed last year and her recent spat with Spotify where she removed her entire music catalog from the music streaming service, Swift has fully embraced the message that music needs to be valued appropriately,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “Not only does such positioning likely hold true to her beliefs, but it serves her well from a business sense.”

“Even though Swift won this latest battle (Apple probably will face no long-term negative implications from this though), I still think Swift’s long-term positioning in terms of valuing music is problematic,” Cybart writes. “Swift is combining short-term goals with long-term ambitions. She is upset with any service or feature that doesn’t value music correctly. She raises very valid (and convincing) arguments. However, when looking at the long-term, Swift is likely backing herself into a corner.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: True, no single artist (or band) can harness, much less control, technology.

Apple Music could kill more than just Spotify, it could kill music labels, too – June 25, 2015
Taylor Swift ‘happily’ decides to include ‘1989’ album on Apple Music – June 25, 2015
Apple Music and the future of the music industry – June 25, 2015
Apple to pay 0.2 cent per song during Apple Music free trial – June 25, 2015


    1. Disagree with what???

      She has every right to back herself into a corner. I just don’t believe she is doing so. She is making her voice heard, to the betterment of all artists.

      Where this all goes is anyone’s guess. Most likely a compromise.

    2. I don’t think the article argues anything different (or opposite). All it is saying is that she has backed herself into a corner. In other words, by proclaiming the demand for fair compensation of artists, eliminated some choices that may end up being better (financially) for her down the road, as a consequence of the technology evolution.

      I would say I’m not sure the article is quite right. She may not really need alternative choices after all. If Apple Music succeeds, revenue stream from streaming may end up being reasonably high after all to compensate for the loss of sales.

      The math is simple: if you stream a song once per day for about year and a half, you will generate $0.92 (the amount of money Apple pays out to labels for sale of a $0.99 song). Of course, that time is a bit longer for $1.29 songs (assuming that the streaming rate is the same for all tracks).

      So, under Apple’s rate plan, hit-making artists whose music lives long will clearly generate noticeably more revenue streaming than outright selling their tracks.

      For consumers, $120 per year may be little or a lot, depending on how much music they consume and what their tastes are, but I have a feeling that for discerning fans, it will be a combination of streaming and buying.

    3. “Swift wants people to value music appropriately. Apple does too. Swift thinks the best way of doing that is to pay for music.”

      Right, she wants people to value music appropriately but she’s not arguing so much about a ‘best way is to pay for it’ but more about PAYING THE ARTIST (which are the creators of that music) for that music IRRESPECTIVE of whatever deals/offers a third party comes up with to close deals with music audience (in this case Apple and its streaming service 90! days free trial). In other words, there might be better/best ways to pay for music but PAY ME for it.

      “If you are a music artist and you release a new album from July to September, you would have received $0 from Apple Music and the 10s of millions of people trying the service out.”

      And that’s why I disagree she’s backing herself into a corner.

      That mentality (business model?), particularly from companies of “I will screw you [the artist] because I can because I have more power/control than you do” must end, especially for long term good business relationships.

      Thankfully, “she can afford to take these kind of hard stances and use her music as a bargaining chip.”.

  1. I applaud Taylor Swift for bringing to light Apple’s intention of using their market dominance to try to force artists to forgo payment for the music Apple would ultimately profit from streaming (in the form of new customers).

    1. “Apple would ultimately profit from streaming (in the form of new customers).”

      and the artists wouldn’t have (eventually profit from streaming if it succeeds)?

      apple was offering them even before the new deal better terms, a lot better than ad supported streaming (which they make almost zero) . Apple wanted to share the burden, the artist spent their time and money making the music but Apple also spent billions on buying Beats and setting up the system. Now apple is bearing ALL the costs and ALL the risks.

    2. “Ultimately profit from”… you mean many months after the royalty payments commenced to artists? Apple is likely spending millions of dollars to set up the Apple Music platform, at zero cost to the artists, and they were worried about a measly three months? It’s a load of b.s.

  2. Wether what TS did is right or wrong is immaterial, but I can’t disagree with your specific comment more.

    Apple is, seemingly, paying more than other streaming services after the free trial. They believe their service is compelling enough to get people to sign up and stay on, at which point the artists end up making more as well.

    It’s akin to me saying “I want you to help me sell my widgets. I like the idea of giving people a free sample of the widget, but you have a lot of money so you should still pay me for it even though you’re trying to help us both out”.

    When Costco gives out free food samples, it’s a joint effort. Costco pays the exhibitors and the product they’re pushing provides the samples.

    It’s a symbiotic relationship intended to benefit both parties. If one party or the other is isn’t getting a good return on their investment, it becomes inequitable and falls apart. I believe what we’re seeing is the dance to find equitability, not some nefarious plot to screw someone.

  3. Media in general is getting devalued thanks to the relatively easy process of pirating other’s people’s intellectual property and work. “Free” is still the general preferred feeling about paying for content among many, usually with the cop-out “I couldn’t afford to buy it anyway.”.

    1. It is not only easy to pirate music; it is easy to create music and make an album. The market is flooded with musical wannabes. That devalues the music. It is simple supply and demand.

      1. Yeah, that’s what I mean. Same is true for cheap digital video tools and editing but of course it doesn’t mean all this product is any good but has the effect of cheapening the process in people’s minds. Even smart phones shoot decent video. So many wannabe’s with a small pool of actual takers and smaller pool yet of real payers.

  4. I think the argument that a free three-month trial would put artists out of business is complete nonsense. She and many others made a stink about a complete non-issue. Apple contributes so much more to the music industry than just royalties to artists, and I think they were ignoring that when they complained.

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