11 November 2014

Medium: “It’s Amazing That The Old Record Industry Existed In The First Place”

Taylor Swift 1989 album cover

How many of those millions of people only wanted one track but had to buy the entire album? iTunes fixed that by decoupling the tracks from albums.

How many of those millions put the album on a shelf and never listened to it? Spotify fixed that—artists only get paid for plays.

By removing herself from streaming services, Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market. Like Comcast, her product is popular enough that people will put up with it. And while I believe an artist gets to choose what happens to her art, I still think it’s a dick move to her fans.

Philip Kaplan

I would exactly call it amazing, maybe just the best solution available at the time. But the world keeps changing and everything else with it – including the publishing business, for music as well as books. As the article above points out, Mozart didn’t sell a single copy of his work – back then the public consisted of a hand-full of aristocrats. Artists had to stay in the good graces of their patron if they wanted to enjoy their leisurely lifestyle and keep creating. Just like the printing press made books available for the masses, sound recording replicated the process for music and later dramatic art.

What we’re experiencing now is the next stage of this democratization process, where inefficient physical copies are rapidly replaced by digital copies. Music and books can reach people from across the world almost instantly over the Internet – and despite fears and resistance, in the long run this will be a good thing! In another, opposite trend, people are more frequently seeking out original performances by going to concerts and listening to live music. In time, best-selling lists will become less and less relevant, as the sources of revenue for artists diversify. Big names can afford to give up on streaming on a whim or as a publicity stunt, but the industry as a whole will benefit from keeping its options open.

But Taylor Swift owns the zeitgeist this week.

But Spotify owns the zeitgeist in the future.

You might think it’s Taylor Swift’s world and we only live in it, but the truth is it’s streaming music’s world and we not only live in it, we love it!

Bob Lefsetz

Post a Comment