Taylor Swift, an incredibly popular artist with indisputably catchy music, has been notorious for her adamant opposition to streaming services. The singer/songwriter took her music off of Spotify in 2014 and refused to release her latest album, “1989,” to Apple Music. She was one of the only artists to deny allowing the platforms access to her music, due to the money she believed she’d lose.
Since then, Swift’s feud with streaming platforms hasn’t died down. On Tuesday, Complex reported that the singer may be starting her own streaming service to feature “non-downloadable multi-media content in the nature of audio recordings.” Not only is that an unnecessarily complicated description, but also just plain unnecessary.
The world doesn’t need another streaming service. Between Spotify, Apple Music and the more niche Tidal, consumers already have enough options to choose from to listen to and download their music.
Listeners shouldn’t be expected to spread themselves across so many platforms. If the goal for artists is to make streaming services profitable, then the solution isn’t to make your own platform. Instead, it would be to condense into a singular site to have the greatest amount of listeners and therefore the most plays and downloads. Tidal and “Swifties,” as Swift’s site is rumored to be called, will separate a relatively large market. Swift will in turn distance herself from a bigger audience rather than create a larger one. Consumers want all of their products to be in one place. Kindle enables a singular book library, Netflix holds an incredibly large movie and TV collection and Spotify has a huge music selection. Having multiple niche streaming services is a step backwards for the industry.
Since Swift’s reach is far and reputation well known, this could lead to an influx of other artists leaning toward fighting streaming services. This shouldn’t become a trend of artists creating their own platform because they’re not happy with the amenities provided by Spotify. It will only make consumers spend more money on subscriptions and take time away from an artist’s music making process. Wars will start between the services to attract not only customers, but also the artists to join their platforms. In the end, individual streaming services wouldn’t be sustainable or appreciated by music lovers.
Swift, of all people, shouldn’t be the one of the first to create her own service. Jay Z was able to capitalize on the rap scene, with help from his wife Beyonce’s exclusive debut of Lemonade, but Swift wouldn’t have the same advantage. Jay Z is a mogul and Swift hasn’t been in the business long enough. It’s unlikely that artists would volunteer to take their music off of Spotify to put it exclusively on her platform. Who, really, would band behind the pop star, especially in the precarious beginning stages? Her fan base is certainly strong and would rally behind her initiative, but the streaming service wouldn’t be able to grow because of hesitation from her fellow artists.
Though artists aren’t making a huge portion of their income from being featured on streaming services, Swift made a mistake to remove her music from Spotify and Apple Music. In order for an artist to make $10 on Spotify, their song must be played 1,190 times. This doesn’t add up to that much money for the already-affluent musicians. But yet, thousands of artists have allowed all of their content to be accessible for those who subscribe to the service. Swift was extremely pretentious to demand she must be compensated for her art, when many of her peers embraced their Spotify fame. If you’re not allowing your fans to have access to your music, you’re not being a very good artist. Eventually, listeners will lose interest altogether.
Spotify is undoubtedly the direction that the music scene is headed toward, and many musicians have already gotten there. There isn’t a better, easier platform for cheap music. Individual artists can’t compete with that.