Artists are taking a stand to protect their work

By Samantha Jacobs
November 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Taylor Swift is seen performing on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on October 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
(Creative Commons)

Streaming music is not a huge step up from pirating for artists.

(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)

Technology has allowed small artists to grow on their own without a record label, but this is creating new problems for artists as they find that their music is no longer being paid for due to pirating and streaming. Although streaming does pay artists, it’s a complicated issue of looking at who is actually making the money when songs are streamed through third-party services

The millions of fans that used Spotify to listen to Taylor Swift, one of the world’s most popular pop-stars known for her songs about exes, were left saying “Tell Me Why” after she pulled her music from the service on Nov. 3, 2014.

Spotify responded to her departure begging her to “Stay Stay Stay” but Swift walked away singing “We are never ever ever getting back together.” In an interview with Yahoo she talked about the fast pace at which the music industry was moving and her desire to remove her work from Spotify. She felt the service is an experiment that does not  compensate artists well for their work.

While I think it is important to pay artists fairly for their work as anyone in a nine-to-five job would receive fair pay, I don’t see Spotify as an experiment, but more as the way the music industry is headed. In a world where technology is constantly advancing and there is a new Facebook waiting in the shadows to outshine the popular MySpace constantly, it is impossible to predict the future.

Since Taylor stands to gain more album sales from fans that used the service to listen to her music, I think that this is a good move for her, even though money is the least of the popstar’s concerns. Some fans were very upset over her decision, feeling as though it was selfish to remove her music.

On Spotify’s website, they explain that 70 percent of their revenue goes to the artist while the company only makes 30 percent. They also claim that their success is measured on their ability to convince listeners to pay for music again, rather than pirate it and increase the money users pay by the use of premium packages.

Even if spotify’s numbers are stretched, I think a large problem lies in the issues between record labels and artists that has been on-going for decades. Spotify claimed in it’s plea to Swift that it gives 70 percent of it’s revenue back to the music industry, not back to artists.

I think that her departure is monumental for smaller artists that can’t afford to not push their music everywhere possible even if they’re not compensated well. It drew the attention of millions of fans to the way in which streaming music hurts artists because even though it pays more than pirating, artists are still not making as much as they would have before the internet changed the game.


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Samantha Jacobs

Samantha is a Digital Communications and Social Media Major, Spanish minor, Web and Multimedia Editor for Loquitur, Director and Multimedia Manager for LOQation News. She has an interest in rock music and her favorite stories to write are about music news and reviews.

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