Taylor Swift, Spotify, and Me

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift decided to not put her music on Spotify last week and the music world is all a-buzz. The issue of content creators (that warm and fuzzy catch phrase for artists of all stripes) not getting paid for their work is a very hot topic right now, at least among artists. I hope somebody’s getting some money out of it!

It seems I get reminded of this topic every few months: A little while ago there was an interview with David Byrne on the subject which caused quite a stir. Last week, because of Taylor Swift, I read about the subject in the New York Times. Over the weekend I’ve seen extended conversations on the West Coast Songwriters Facebook page. Everyone makes compelling arguments:

  • Music Streaming is here to stay
  • Spotify cheats it’s artists
  • The market is saturated
  • Artists are greedy
  • People expect music to be free
  • It is only $10 for a subscription
  • No good music will be made if people can’t make a living
  • Spotify is only one company, Taylor Swift has her stuff everywhere so it’s no big deal
  • Follow the money – Spotify is about to go public so the music industry wants it that way (or something like that)

And then my head hurts. Selfishly, as a content creator, I think I should be paid for writing about this, but, I’m also all for finding a good bargain. So, you reading this for free is okay with me. But if this blog post turned into a series and then a novel, I would want to sell it because I put so much time into it. And then I’d quit my day job, you see, because novelists…

But I digress.

The 90s in San Francisco was a great time for collecting records on the street. I’d be walking along and suddenly there would be a box full of old records on the sidewalk. “Awesome!” And some of them were even good. But then I got rid of my turntable and records because I was sick of hauling them around when I moved. CDs were smaller. I wasn’t an audiophile so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

So…how do I feel about this streaming issue? Besides the fact that there is no access to the information you’d find on the CD jacket — like who wrote it, recorded it, played on it — if all I’m going to lose is the ability to stream Taylor Swift on Spotify, it’s not a big deal to me. But if you’re going to take away my dream that one day I can quit my day job, well then…




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