Writer’s Guild of America = Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift’s music is not available on Spotify.  She explained in her interview with Time, “[e]verybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things.  They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales”.  However, this Business Insider author, Dave Smith, disagrees with Taylor’s argument.

“Spotify, for the record, pays 70% of its revenue to labels, which amounted to roughly $1 billion in payouts last year. But that’s not how artists like Swift see it: When you break it down, labels actually get less than a penny per play, and that’s money going to the labels, not to the artists. So a label would still make less than $1 million off a single song, even if it’s played 100 million times, and the artist would see even less of that money.” –Dave Smith from Business Insider

Even if these numbers don’t match up to Taylor Swift’s reasoning, we have to understand that media is evolving to the point where there are multiple platforms to listen to music, and the most popular media platform for music right now are through streaming platforms, like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Technology has gotten ahead of the system of monetary exchange for products.  In Cynthia Littleton’s book, TV On Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War Over the Internet, we understand that with the development of new media, many corporate businesses were taking advantage of writers of television and film.  The major studios were using digital media platforms to gain a bigger profit and the writers were not compensated with the larger revenue.  In Taylor Swift’s case, it seems as though one artist out of the many are speaking out about unfair revenue distributions from places like Spotify.  Taylor also withheld her 1989 album from iTunes because Apple won’t pay artists during the initial three-month trial period.

You can see Taylor’s act of withholding content as activism because she claims, in her blog, she is speaking for those who do not have the influence to change how corporate businesses work.  Clearly, Taylor was successful in her argument against Apple, but it also helped Apple when they supported Taylor’s argument.  Nevertheless, not all cases against corporate business that are only looking for a larger profit margin are successful.  In another area of discussion, these corporate business are also looking towards advertising, product placement and foreign sales for profit.

There isn’t a definite end to battles between creative workers and the corporate because evolution is inevitable.  Interests between these two sects are almost never met from what we have read so far in this class.  We can’t measure or predict failures and successes between these battles either.  What I learned from Cynthia Littleton, there is always going to be some sort of revolution in response to a dated system.

Here are also some things I found on the Internet that are interesting:

Here is a South Park episode that satires the piracy of digital music: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0705913/




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