When Taylor Swift pulled her album 1989 from iTunes, she was doing it to take a stand against Apple’s decision to stop paying royalties to artists. . She faced a similar situation last year when she pulled her music from Spotify “…because she felt that offering music to users for free was a devaluation of the art form.”
Swift was well within her rights to pull her music, of course, but it is important to consider everyone affected by this- everyone, including the fans
Swift is right to protest over the lack of royalties. Music is her livelihood and she deserves credit, as all musicians do. But Swift is still well-off. Apple is still an extremely successful corporation with or without 1989. And Spotify is still one of the most popular music services available.
Musicians, labels, and distributors need to remember who else is being affected- the fans. Keeping music out of streaming services makes it more difficult for the fans to enjoy what they love.
The simple fact is, not all fans can afford to buy albums. Imagine having to choose between having food that day or listening to a favorite artist’s new album- this is a reality for too many people. Ad-supported streaming services like Spotify allow people with lower incomes to enjoy music, and to suggest that they should not be allowed that crosses into the territory of classism.
Of course musicians deserve to be paid for their hard work, but that doesn’t mean less fortunate fans don’t deserve to listen to it.
And in fact, they will likely just keep listening to it. When music is taken away from free streaming services like Spotify, fans will likely just seek other avenues, including illegal downloads.
Swift isn’t helping fans by keeping her music from Apple, and she certainly isn’t helping them by removing it from free streaming services. She may not even be helping herself.