Music & The Greed

When I first heard the song, “Tim McGraw”- I’ll admit I was confused. I had never listened to country before and had only been randomly clicking on links on YouTube when I stumbled upon the music video. Taylor Swift, a completely unknown artist to me and many around me (imagine that, with her current star status and all), was in the music video, singing her song, “Tim McGraw”.

Flash forward a few albums later and not only was the world hooked, but I was definitely hooked. I loved her music. Not only the actually music itself, but the lyrics were so catchy and raw and true- it was awesome. When she started straying from country I held on because the lyrics were still written words of brilliance. Then, 1989 happened.

Don’t be fooled- this isn’t an album review. I can’t review the album, because I can’t listen to the album.

See, as a starving college student I have to make sacrifices regularly. “Do I buy this shirt or grocery shop so I have more to eat than beans and rice this week?” It’s a difficult decision sometimes. The same goes for buying CD’s. Maybe when I was 10 years old and buying a CD with my allowance money was really cool, but now? Why buy a CD when I can save the $20 it costs and instead buy myself some vegetables.

Spotify is one of the greatest streaming music providers I’ve come across. I used to like Pandora but Spotify is so consumer driven that it kicks Pandora out of the water in terms of consumer satisfaction. For an inexpensive price of $5 a month I can stream all the music I want with no commercials create playlists that I can listen to off line, and share my playlists with my friends. It’s amazing for college students.

Then Taylor Swift decides to go and pull her entire discography. To boost her CD sales of her newest release. She’s upset because “Spotify doesn’t pay artists enough” and “this is her life’s work she should get paid for it fairly”…because you know selling over 12 million copies the first week of it’s release isn’t enough money for this “struggling” music star.

In one aspect, I get it. She worked hard on the album, and yeah Spotify doesn’t pay a ton of money so she’s a little upset. Pulling her entire catalog off? That’s drastic, and to me, downright greedy. Especially because now that she’s pulled it off Spotify, who was paying to be able to stream the music to her fans, instead people are going to turn to piracy. And how much money is Taylor going to see from that? $0.

She also doesn’t take into consideration that people, like myself, who bought one of her CD’s, can listen to that whenever I want; aka no streaming from me on Spotify which means she wasn’t seeing a dime of that. But for those who hadn’t bought her CD’s, instead of illegally downloading the music they were streaming from Spotify and she was still getting paid.

It’s infuriating that she seems to be primarily motivated by greed. In a world where music artists, athletes, and celebrities are paid more than the men who fight for our freedom, it’s an absurd thought that she’s upset because she’s not being compensated enough for her life’s work. The average American doesn’t make millions every year from their life work. But you don’t see them revoking privileges from others because of that. I really do like Taylor Swift but I’m appalled at her recent decision. I’m even more horrified that other musicians, like Jason Aldean, are starting to pull their music from Spotify as well.

These artists think that they’re doing something great. They’re fighting the direction that the social media industry is heading- a world where CD’s just aren’t as popular as online streaming. I couldn’t afford to buy all the CD’s of the artists I listen to on Spotify, but I stream their music constantly and they’re getting paid every time I listen. But they’re not fighting. To me- they’re taking themselves out of the game and not recognizing that the hidden enemy is still there- piracy.

Taylor Swift is upset because Spotify doesn’t pay her enough? Does she not recognize that people are now going to just download her music illegally and she’s not going to see a dime? I feel that her greed just blinded her to the bigger enemy here that music streaming companies, like Spotify and Pandora, are trying to fight. They don’t want people illegally downloading music just as much as the musicians don’t.

But that’s what happens when you’re not satisfied with the amount of money you’re making. Perhaps Taylor Swift should do a little more soul searching to figure out why she’s not happy with selling over 12 million copies after the first week of the release of her new album.

In the meantime, I’ll continue using Spotify, but I think that other artists should really consider if in the long run, Swift made a smart decision by pulling her music from the music streaming service. You can’t fight where technology is going and if you resist you’ll get left in the dust.


If you’re curious about what Spotify has to say about Swift leaving their service, check out the link below. Daniel Ek brings up a lot of great points that I merely highlighted above. It’s worth read if you pay attention to trends in the music industry.

One Reply to “Music & The Greed”

  1. […] Streaming music has went through some controversy during the first half of this month. It started when Taylor Swift pulled her latest album from Spotify, saying she didn’t want to participate in a “grand experiment” that didn’t properly value her music. She went on to further clarify her position in an interview with Time magazine. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded in a blog post saying that artists are being paid fairly by the service. My daughter also chimed in with an interesting college student point of view. […]

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