Taylor Swift fights for the little man. Except for when she doesn’t.
The pop superstar graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s September issue in a wide-ranging interview that includes new details about the back story of her now-famous open letter to Apple. Calling upon the media giant to pay artists, writers, and producers royalties during the three-month free trial period of their new music-streaming platform, the nature of the response was very different from Swift’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last summer, in which she called out Spotify. While Spotify ignored Swift’s demands, Apple did an about face less than 24 hours later.
While certainly not lacking for accolades as far as her musical career is concerned, Swift’s recent, politicized headlines have catapulted her into a different realm altogether. Since the Apple row, she’s been lauded as an activist for musicians, a savior in the fight against greedy music-industry titans. But there’s one problem with this media narrative: Taylor Swift is not an underdog. Taylor Swift has never been an underdog, and the media’s painting of her is silly and ignorant.
The way we consume music has been shifting dramatically in the 21st century. Album sales have been falling since the late 90s when MP3s began to dominate the market. The digital age made music convenient and accessible. You weren’t swapping CDs with your best friends; you were sharing files with someone across the country. Then streaming came along, and threw the industry for another loop.
Streaming is to digital sales what digital sales were to CDs. It’s a game changer. It’s an evolution. It’s a threat. It’s social. Or, at least, it should be.
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