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Taylor Swift, Spotify, and Me by Alex Walsh

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Taylor-SwiftTaylor Swift decided to not put her music on Spotify last week and the music world is all a-buzz. The issue of content creators (that warm and fuzzy catch phrase for artists of all stripes) not getting paid for their work is a very hot topic right now, at least among artists. I hope somebody’s getting some money out of it!

It seems I get reminded of this topic every few months: A little while ago there was an interview with David Byrne on the subject which caused quite a stir. Last week, because of Taylor Swift, I read about the subject in the New York Times. Over the weekend I’ve seen extended conversations on the West Coast Songwriters Facebook page. Everyone makes compelling arguments:

  1. Music Streaming is here to stay
  2. Spotify cheats it’s artists
  3. The market is saturated
  4. Artists are greedy
  5. People expect music to be free
  6. It is only $10 for a subscription
  7. No good music will be made if people can’t make a living
  8. Spotify is only one company, Taylor Swift has her stuff everywhere so it’s no big deal
  9. Follow the money – Spotify is about to go public so the music industry wants it that way (or something like that)

And then my head hurts. Selfishly, as a content creator, I think I should be paid for writing about this, but, I’m also all for finding a good bargain. So, you reading this for free is okay with me. But if this blog post turned into a series and then a novel, I would want to sell it because I put so much time into it. And then I’d quit my day job, you see, because novelists…

But I digress.

The 90s in San Francisco was a great time for collecting records on the street. I’d be walking along and suddenly there would be a box full of old records on the sidewalk. “Awesome!” And some of them were even good. But then I got rid of my turntable and records because I was sick of hauling them around when I moved. CDs were smaller. I wasn’t an audiophile so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

So…how do I feel about this streaming issue? Besides the fact that there is no access to the information you’d find on the CD jacket — like who wrote it, recorded it, played on it — if all I’m going to lose is the ability to stream Taylor Swift on Spotify, it’s not a big deal to me. But if you’re going to take away my dream that one day I can quit my day job, well then…