So, Taylor Swift is using social media to extort Apple Music. Her issue is that Apple Music was going to offer her music (as well as other artists) for free for three months, in order to entice listeners to try the service.
Now, I would be compassionate if Taylor Swift was a starving artist. If she couldn’t eat for three months due to this. This clearly isn’t the case. From all appearances, Taylor is under zero financial duress. And the music in question is not unreleased tracks—this is existing work for which she has already earned a lot of money.
On her Tumblr, she states:
“ These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child.”
— Taylor Swift
Spoiled, petulant musician
It is funny when a public figure feels the need to downplay anticipated criticism as part of one’s own soapbox. By stating that she isn’t a spoiled, petulant child, she is exposing a fear of being labeled as exactly that. I call this tactic “preemptive denial.” This is exactly like the politicians or priests who go on tirades against homosexuality, and then later come out as gay.
I’ve never been impressed with Taylor’s story or art. Before her extortion of Apple Music, I did get to hear her album for free, and my opinion had improved. But now, due to her actions, I will actively turn off her music, and I will make sure that I remove her from any playlists in Apple Music. In essence, her actions have turned me back into being unimpressed with her as an artist.
If she thinks that artists can’t succeed by being generous, I would suggest that she takes a hard look at how real artists utilize social media. Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails, offers his music for free (including multitrack versions that budding artists can use under creative commons). Trent has proven, again and again, that being generous has built a passionate fan base that not only buys his music, but they actively help promote him. For free.
Now, I ask you: Give away your music for free, and be successful because of it, or use social media to whine about your greed. Which sounds more like the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child?