There is a huge conversation happening right now about Spotify care of Queen T and I wouldn't feel right if I didn't say something.
For those of you who do not know, Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalogue from Spotify, the free/$10 a month streaming service.
There have been responses of every variety, from calling her a money-hungry bitch, to defending her stance and even artists such as Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert (don't worry I didn't know who they were either) also pulling their music from the platform.
You all know how much I love Taylor and so I am leaning toward the latter even contemplating pulling it myself. Of course Taylor does not need the money from Spotify (there are sources that say with her popularity she could make $6 million from Spotify) but after reading her Op-ed, I have to agree with her.
In my case, it might not make sense to pull my catalogue because the exposure could be more helpful than anything.....
But still it is a matter of principle. It is taking a stand for the power of music....for the belief that it deserves the financial rewards that most other arts get. You wouldn't walk into a museum and expect the art work for free. In fact, you can't even walk into museums for free. You have to pay to see it.
I think what it really comes down to is an issue between music consumers and music creators. For whatever reason, music consumers are not interested in paying for music.
It's something I've been thinking about for a long time. We are all so willing to pay $12 for a movie, $10 for popcorn and candy, and the experience lasts 2 hours. I ask you, how often do you re-watch the same movie? How often do you think about the movie weeks/months later?
But for an album, a compilation of songs sung with soul, performed with heart by, more often than not, the person who created the songs, who felt the emotions described in the songs, who worked for months, sometimes years on the project, people expect it to be free. They don't want to spend $12. Which would make out to be $1 a song and a mere pittance of the money spent on the project.
And of course the biggest point being that the impact of an album lasts way beyond 2 hours of any movie, and even the 45 minutes of the album. It lasts for eternity. It conjures up memories for years to come. Sarah McLaughlin will always bring me back to high school- one of the first songs I loved playing was "Adia" on the piano.
My roommate from college said she would never be able to listen to Lauryn Hill or Dave Matthews Band without thinking of me. It brought her back to our dorm, waking up to Doo Wop-thing every morning as my alarm went off.
It brings back a memory, a feeling, a place. $12? I'd say it was priceless.
So, What gives? How did it get to be that the creation of art, of the pouring of our souls, is expected to be given free? Why are we as consumers not willing to make an exchange of value? We as musicians and creators pour our heart and soul into our work-we ache for it. It is our life's work. And we provide the music lovers with a soundtrack to their life. Don't the consumers think that's worth even a dollar a song?
And what's more, what can we do about it? It seems to me that there might be a stand off between consumers and creators. If creators all take a stand and refuse to give away their music for free, wouldn't consumers be forced to pay? Is is that simple? Could it be?
I'd like to think the answer is yes. Although I imagine that it is no- Because people will still give away and upload music that isn't theirs for free. Because I'm an idealist and I live in an idealist world (not really but I couldn't resist).
So I ask, why do 1.29 million people buy Taylor Swift's album? What makes them support her? Because they believe in her and they want to help her succeed. She is definitely doing something right. And by something I mean everything.
I guess I wish that consumers wanted to support all creators whether they are Taylor Swift or the guys in the subway. That they believed in the power of music so much that they reach into their pockets for the $12 that it costs to buy experiences and feelings that ultimately last a life time.
Do you agree? What's your take on the matter? Would love to start this conversation with you.
All my money-paying love of music,