Monday, June 22, 2015

Taylor Not-So-Swift

Is she cute?  Sure.  Is she a musical talent?  Not so much.  Really, other than her looks, she doesn't have much at all.  Nothing substantial anyways.

This isn't sour grapes that I didn't get a free ride through life and that I'm not a lame "entertainer" pop star.  This is actually a bigger problem with "independent artists" thinking and that they somehow believe they're entitled to payment if someone streams their song.  Seriously.  And then they wonder why all of a sudden they have to pay to use a streaming service.

I hate to say it but I am an "Independent Artist" (never liked the sound of it) and the only thing I'm dependent on is CD Baby to setup and warehouse my CDs.  I have to do all other aspects (write, record, play, promote) myself and after all that time spent, you know what I think is fair and honest?  Payment for a "sale", not a "listen". 

Years ago, when record labels shot themselves in the foot for their lack of creativity on how to work digital downloads ("Duh, let's sell it through iTunes"), and shrunk their rosters to keep the best garbage, it's no wonder why they're going broke and most radio-music is pretty awful.  If you're a music label and you're relying on non-musicians to stay afloat, you're going to have some big problems because you've ruined your reputation and you've ruined the service for real "artists".  Now the people that could give your company any credibility has to go out and get a day job.

So when I hear some two-dimensional, already rich entertainer belly ache she's not going to get royalties for an album that her producer put together ("This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create."), I get pretty annoyed.  If anyone's unqualified to complain, it's her.  "These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child", she says but actually, they are.  Her "every artist, writer and producer in my social circles" sound like it could be the same group in Jay-Z's circles.  Personally, I don't think her song writers and producers deserve a dime because they're not making or contributing anything substantial or worthwhile but at the same time looking for a handout. 

I'm not selling my stuff for cheap* because I don't think it's good enough, I'm selling my songs at 50 cents each because I think it's a pretty fair price.  A dollar or $1.50 for a three minute song is more than a little wrong and there's no reason people should pay $10 - $14 for an mp3 "album" especially when there isn't any artwork or credits.

But yes, the real problem is "artists" today think they should get paid for a listen of their song.  I still haven't heard a valid argument to justify that.  Actually, I haven't heard any argument as to why that would be a good idea.  If anyone reads this entry, please write me back with a valid argument on the pro side of getting paid for streams.

Anyways, Taylor, you're not an artist.  Since you're not really that involved with anything but yourself, the 3 month trial is called "promotion" (pronounced: pruh-moh-shun) to hopefully get more people on the service to maybe buy more of your lackluster albums.  It actually works in your favour if you'd settle down and think for a second.  Also, if you're really the talent you think you are, you wouldn't have to rely on writers and producers.  Jay-Z has this problem too.  Try being an "artist" and make something yourself.  Try it.  It's actually more rewarding.  Unfortunately, it seems the only thing you're capable of making is a baby.  And complaining.

Sorry, folks. I get tired hearing people bitch that are actually part of the problem and not the solution.  And thanks to Eddy Cue from Apple for his Grade 5 Tweets and for again being part of the problem by caving into to a child.  He just made Taylor Swift a true inspiration to whiners all around the world.

Here's her letter to Crapple:

To Apple, Love Taylor

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. 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.

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out. Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.


Comments on the Letter

  • Well, getting through this open letter without getting shit on my own nose was a challenge.  There's so much.
  • Oh no, you're holding back your album.  It doesn't deserve an explanation, but if it makes your swelled head feel better than by all means.
  • So exactly, how many up and coming artists are going to be putting their hits out in the next 3 months?  All of them?
  • Streaming isn't beautiful progress.  I'm not sure how many 3-4 syllable adjectives you need to use after every noun.  Who writes her blurbs, George Howard from Forbes?  And if Apple is working towards streaming and not sales, I would be super pissed if I owned a record company.  Apple certainly isn't capable of being a record label, especially after doing an about-face because of a single complaint from a current celebrity.
  • How one can compare iPhones with music just plain doesn't make sense.  She may as well said, we don't ask you for forks, please don't take our tents. 


*Bright Ideas - Volume 2 is out now.  Please have a listen using the player.  And no, I'm not looking for a royalty.

No comments:

Post a Comment