Social media meets lobbying meets activist meets Industry Powerhouse Taylor
Social media meets lobbying meets activist meets Industry Powerhouse.
Taylor Swift conducted what was obviously a well thought through campaign on her blog, presumably because 140 characters sometimes is just not enough. (Go blogging, but I digress).
To bring everyone up to speed, the Apple Music streaming service was proposed to launch with a 3 month trial period. This is longer than the normal 1 month trial. The kicker was that Apple were not planning to pay an artist royalty during that 3 month period.
Apple had dealt with that potential dissonance with a 2 – 3 % increase to 30% being the payment Apple would pay to the musicians following the 3 month trial.
Taylor was able to talk about the poor “young songwriter” and make the case that the non payment to them during the 3 months was a huge deal financially to those artists.
Mission acconplished. Eddie Cue tweeted
“We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple” (seriously she is #13?)
With days to go before the launch of Apple Music, the company was facing an intensifying chorus of criticism from artists and independent record labels about key terms of its new $9.99-a-month subscription service. Singer Taylor Swift said in a blogpost that it was “shocking” and “disappointing” that Apple was refusing to pay artists for music carried during a free three-month trial period for users.
Yet within a day of the rebuke from Ms Swift, Apple changed its tune and announced that it would pay for every single stream. Eddy Cue, the group’s senior vice-president of internet software and services, tweeted: “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Relevance to Bankwatch:
There are so many issues at play here its hard to know where to begin. Here are some I thought of:
- Apple didn’t properly externally consult and think through the business model of Apple Music
- Apple bean counters created a model that in theory over compensated artists but only if they are successful for a long time. I didnt do the math, but I am estimating that in a PV/ FV calculation it takes a long time to recoup three months working for free
- Apple saw an opportunity to support a Spotify hater and be on the side of good (the sceptical view)
- Apple over-estimated an issue that ‘might’ blow over
- Taylor went corporate with help of her ‘people’ using social media that post was a very well constructed piece that placed the product (Taylor) selflessly and somewhat tongue in cheek at the top of the pile (“Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows”)
Something is changing here in terms of industry power shift. Music has been on the back foot for 20 years. This is one small move for music.
What is more intersting is whether this is a one off or whether other industries than music might see such influence. For now I believe this is a one off that is related to the influence embedded in the Taylor Swift brand. (Eat your heart out Kanye).
Taylor Swift probably hit JayZ status in terms of indutry influence though and there could be impications for Apple Vs Tidal that are going on here.