If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have an almost childlike love of Taylor Swift.
I adore all things Taylor Swift. I preordered her album the second iTunes would let me, I rock out to her discography daily & I may have paid some criminal @ StubHub almost $1000 to replace my Toronto tickets with ones more local to the new city & on August 4/15, the girls & I will get to see our Queen. We’re all very excited. The girls have a countdown, the not always angry teen has her outfit ready, the overlord has looked up the setlist & my IG has an amazing video of my five year old’s epic performance of Bad Blood. We REALLY like Taylor Swift.
I also REALLY like Apple. During a job interview for the Apple Store, I was asked what set me apart from other candidates & I said I’d give them a kidney. When new Apple products launch, I sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I am a proud iSheep with my gold iPhone 6 & I regret not one thing. So, imagine my basic white girl horror when my favourite artist & favourite brand appeared to have an issue (I may have cried. Okay not really. But I thought about it).
When Taylor Swift wrote her open letter to Apple, she said what everyone who considers themselves an artist has always thought, but never been able to drive home; expecting artists to work for free for the exposure is ripping them off. We should all be compensated for our work, whether it’s digging ditches or selling out stadiums.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know many indie artists over the years, and I would suggest you check them out. I built my career interviewing these artists & they are all talented & creative people & I’m so grateful that I was afforded the chance to get to know them. Check out Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky, Inoke Errati, Gypsy Chief Goliath & Cowboys in Cardigans (front man Jamie Reaume’s Way Back Home is still one of my favourite songs). Most of these talented artists are on iTunes. But they wouldn’t have been paid had you streamed their music. Taylor was right when she said it wouldn’t affect her, but that’s a lot of free streaming for the artists above. These guys have homes, families. They worked hard. Why shouldn’t they be paid?
You wouldn’t ask your doctor to work for free, or a lawyer. You wouldn’t tell your hairdresser that your free cut & blowout would help them get business. So, why do it to those lucky people who are willing to risk it all for their one goal of entertaining you? Seems like a jerk move.
And Taylor Swift knew it.
Taylor Swift is aware of her power. She knows how influential she is & that she has the power to speak for the guys playing open mic nights on the weekend while recording awesome new stuff…
…and she used it. And Apple will pay artists. Taylor Swift brought change.
Call her greedy. Call her selfish. Call her whatever you want, but you missed the point. Taylor Swift’s motives may not be 100% altruistic (but I believe they are), but she spoke up & made things change. She used her voice, something so few of us do. She saw something wrong & called the big bad company out on it (I’m sorry Apple) & made a difference. She opened discussion about why artists deserve compensation for their work. One person made a difference.
But most importantly, Taylor Swift is a role model to millions of little girls all over the world, including mine. My eight year old daughter thinks “Queen Taylor changed the world yesterday!” Maybe not, but she taught millions of girls that when something is wrong, you stand up & speak out & one girl CAN change things. One person can spark change so don’t be afraid to be that one person.
So, thank you Taylor. Thanks for defending your fellow artists. Thanks for showing little girls to use their voices. You’re a true role model & inspiration & I’m glad my kids look up to you. But most importantly, thanks for being someone deserving of that praise.