First, Swift Got It Right With Apple
Got to hand it to Taylor Swift, who stood up to the age-old antics and threats of companies like Apple, which perennially treat content providers frankly often like garbage. After Swift told Apple that she would withhold her album “1989” from iTunes, Apple responded in less than 24 hours by acknowledging they had made a mistake by not paying their streaming artists for three months to boost Apple’s current three-month campaign to stream music for free to users. The move by Apple to not pay artists was a classic loss-leader — get users in the door quickly, then move the goalposts by making them pay. All good if you pay the piper yourself, but all bad if you are doing it on the backs of music creatives.
Second, Swift’s Demands Reveal Her Own Apple-Like Demands
The young Swift, a celebrity because she is a music creative with currently unrivaled promotional prowess, has done the right thing, and the creative community salutes her. But many creatives, especially photographers close to celebrity image work, salute only halfheartedly. For example, Jason Sheldon, a photographer who writes for Petapixel.com, also thanks Swift and other artists for standing up to Apple in his piece, “An Open Response to Taylor Swift’s Rant Against Apple”.
Swift Plays Apple Boogie Man Role Herself
But he points to Swift’s own hypocrisy in her and her company’s demands of photographers and other creatives in terms of publishing rights. Swift is not alone among well-known artists, but essentially, Sheldon says Swift largely restricts photographers from submitting photos of herself to other publishing groups, while at the same time reserving her own rights to submit photos or other content by those same creatives as she or her company sees fit.
Music & All Media Are Shifting-Sand Land
This is an old story: Those with the cash, as with Apple — or the cache’, as with Swift — can call many shots. And in an ever-changing, media-saturated world that grows more saturated, quite literally, less than every second that passes, the demands, demonizing and doubling down of too many interests to count will evolve.
Or, in many cases, devolve.
Greg Goaley, President of WinCommunications in Des Moines, Iowa, is a former copywriter and creative editor, and a 25-year digital content strategist and provider. Kathryn Towner is President of WinM@il USA, a former 15-year sales rep for Random House/McGraw-Hill, and a 20-year permission-based email publications consultant and provider.