Pop superstar Taylor Swift has become the champion for artist rights in the past year, attacking Spotify for its freemium model and challenging Apple to pay artists over the free trial period.
Even though her attempt at changing the culture at Spotify didn’t work, Swift managed to convince Apple to do the right thing and pay artists for the first three months of streaming. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Swift called out Spotify for its “corporate machine” response:
"Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about and I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.”
Swift has inspired a few prominent artists to look for ways out of Spotify, mostly moving to Tidal or Apple Music. Some artists hit back at Swift’s assessment of Spotify; Lily Allen and Mumford and Sons both calling out artists for greedy demands.
It is interesting that Swift sees Spotify’s defiance as corporate culture, when only the big names in music streaming are willing to drop the freemium model. Startups like Rdio, Deezer and Pandora all offer some form of free viewing with adverts.
Spotify has been working on advertising to make more revenue, with a 380 per cent increase in ad-revenue over the last twelve months. This might mean in the near future, artists can be paid the same amount regardless of the whether the user is paying for the service.
Even though Apple settled the score with artists, Apple Music is a convoluted mess of a service and plenty are unhappy with the design and lack of focus. Fans of Apple like Jim Dalrymple and John Gruber have expressed severe issues with Apple’s apps since Scott Forstall was sacked in 2012.
Source: Vanity Fair