Taylor Swift 1, Apple 0

No one likes a bully. And at some point there is always a tougher kid on the block.

Elliot Markowitz

June 26, 2015

3 Min Read
Taylor Swift 1, Apple 0

No one likes a bully. And at some point there is always a tougher kid on the block.

Apple (AAPL) has been bullying every industry it touches, specifically the music industry, since the iPod took off and iTunes was established. Even the great U2 caved in a failed marketing ploy last September by allowing the tech giant to automatically load its new album "Songs of Innocence" to iTunes users without even asking them.

Apple didn’t see this as an invasion of privacy. It just wants to sell more devices and wants more iTunes users. U2 got paid handsomely but the band’s reputation took a hit as caving into the corporate machine. In the end, Apple simply supplied a tool to easily remove the album and moved on. Regardless of the faux pas, consumers continue to crave every new Apple’s device.

With every iPhone release, Apple grows in power. Just when you think it couldn’t expand any further, we now have the Apple Watch and major news outlets are reporting there will be an iCar by 2020. I can't help but think of the quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” from John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton.

So can anything stop Apple’s momentum? Enter Taylor Swift, or T-Swift as her fans call her.

Apple has always wanted to get into the streaming business and believes it finally has its act together. It is going to offer users a free three-month trial and then, after they are hooked, charge $9.99 a month. When announcing these plans the understanding by everyone, regardless of what Apple may say now, was that it was not going to pay artists any royalties for those first three months because the company itself wasn’t going to be getting paid for the service.

Many complained but figured there is nothing they can do about it. Well, there is another quote found in the dark movie “8mm”: “When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. The devil changes you.”

Well, Swift, whose album “1989” has sold somewhere between 8 million and 9 million copies already, just refused to dance.

After hearing Apple’s plans Swift took to Tumblr saying, “I find it shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company. Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it’s unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

Less than a day later, Apple responded on Twitter with its Senior Vice President of Sales Eddy Cue simply saying, “Apple will always make sure that artists are paid.” He actually sent it out three times in rapid fire. If anyone didn’t know who Eddy Cue was, they do now, and not for good reasons.

Swift let Apple stew for a while. Finally yesterday she took to Twitter saying, "After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music … and happily so. In case you're wondering if this is some exclusive deal like you've seen Apple do with others artists, it's not. 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, at just 25, is already one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 40 million albums, and more than 130 million single downloads. She has won seven Grammy awards, 11 Country Music Association awards and 20 Billboard Music awards, and is already in the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. This year she became the youngest woman to be included on the Forbes most powerful woman list. Maybe next year she will be Time’s “Person of the Year.”

Knock 'em alive!

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About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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