Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't Mess With Taylor!

I'm a fan of Apple as a happy owner of a couple of iMacs, a Macbook Pro and an iPhone. (I also own some stock, but don't tell anyone.) Apple, whose name originated as an homage to the Beatles' corporation, is a little different than most corporations: more creative and more whimsical. But it is still a corporation and now, the biggest one in the world. So occasionally it does those tone-deaf corporate things that we wish it wouldn't. Like the latest venture into streaming music called Apple Music. The original plan was to offer the new service free for three months to lure subscribers away from competitors. But Taylor Swift, in an open letter posted online, squelched that idea:
"When I woke up this morning and I saw Taylor's note that she had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change," said Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue in an interview with The Associated Press.
Apple had already agreed to share revenue from paid subscriptions to the new Apple Music service, which will cost $10 a month. But Swift said she would withhold her latest album from the service because Apple wasn't planning to pay artists and labels directly for the use of their music during the free, introductory period.
"We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation," Swift wrote in an open letter posted Sunday on her Tumblr page, under the heading "To Apple, Love Taylor. "
You bet!

Despite that fact that every musician I know automatically gravitates toward Macs because, from the very beginning, they were designed for musicians, the corporation Apple sometimes seems rather tone-deaf. I suppose we can't blame them for making Dr. Dre the first billion-dollar rap star, as buying his company Beats was probably a good business decision. But we can fault them for inflicting U2 on us, can't we? U2, on the long downslope of their career, were delighted to get some publicity from Apple, but Taylor Swift is a megastar just getting started. From Wikipedia:
Swift's fifth album, the pop-focused 1989, was released in 2014. It sold more copies in its opening week than any album in the previous 12 years, and made Swift the first and only act to have three albums sell more than one million copies in the opening release week.
 So she definitely does not need any publicity from Apple.

There are lots of middle-men in the music world that are ready and eager to take advantage of young artists. I'm not the ideal person to advise young performers because my career was somewhat problematic, but I think I have enough experience to say that you should probably not bother with any of these guys that want you to perform free for them to increase your "exposure". That kind of exposure you probably don't need. In fact, you should probably ask for fees just a bit higher than your competitors because I suspect that a lot of middlemen, not particularly gifted in terms of aesthetic perceptions, will probably evaluate you higher if you charge more and lower if you charge less. You are not a package of frozen fish sticks, you are an artiste!

So let's listen to a little Taylor Swift, She Who Humbled the Great Apple:

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