Taylor Swift withholds Album from Apple Music

Go Lean Commentary

The music business is first and foremost a business – Unknown Author

Caribbean people love music. The promoters of the roadmap for a new Caribbean, based on the book Go Lean…Caribbean, love music. The book identifies 169 genres of music pervasive in the Caribbean region, think Reggae, Merengue, Soca, Compas (Haiti). But the book and the news article/VIDEO below relate that the challenge in the music business is the business functionalities itself. Consider these additional quotations from musical greats about this current and historic dilemma:

Music is spiritual. The music business is not. – Van Morrison

Music and the music business are two different things. – Erykah Badu

I happened to come along in the music business when there was no trend. – Elvis Presley

The desire to hit a big home run is dominating the music business. – Billy Corgan

At the end of the day, there’s only a few major stars in the music business, and then there’s all these people that are aspiring to be that. – John Legend

CU Blog - Taylor Swift Withholds Album From Apple Music - Photo 1One of the stars of contemporary music, Taylor Swift (see Appendix below), has now reached-out and reached-in to impact this industry, the music business. She has used her financial wherewithal, immerse popularity, huge influence and massive following to force change in this industry. Despite the historical abuse, this one person is making a difference … here and now!

This aligns with the book Go Lean…Caribbean which posits that one person can advocate in a community and transform it for change. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU seeks to empower the economic engines of the region, including the music and performing arts industry. The book vividly depicts how Caribbean music is great, but the Caribbean music industry is in shambles. It is difficult for artists and stakeholders to make a living in this industry in this region. This assessment is not due to any lack of music consumption or music appreciation, but rather due to the lack of a music retailing eco-system.

As depicted in the following VIDEO, most music consumption now take place via the electronic media (internet downloads, streaming, mobile devices, etc.). This is a trend that has been undermining the music industry for 2 decades now, and yet the industry stakeholders have been slow to adapt to this transforming world. This is a parallel reality for Caribbean life in general: Agents of Change (Technology, Globalization) have “rocked” the societal engines, and yet the region has still not adapted adequately. The same as one person, Taylor Swift, is hereby making an impact; this commentary asserts that a similar transformation can occur here at home, in many different arenas in society. See this source news article and VIDEO here:

Title: Taylor Swift Withholds Album From Apple Music
By Blogger: Barbara Chai
Source: Wall Street Journal Online Blogs; posted June 21, 2015; retrieved from: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/06/21/taylor-swift-writes-open-letter-to-apple-we-dont-ask-you-for-free-iphones/

Update 12:00 a.m. Monday: A tweet posted late Sunday on the account belonging to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president who oversees Internet services and software, said: “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.” An Apple spokesman confirmed that the company has changed course.

Taylor Swift announced she won’t allow her latest album, “1989,” to be included in the new streaming service, Apple Music, because she says Apple won’t pay artists during the initial three-month trial period.

In an open letter to Apple posted on Tumblr, Swift wrote:

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

Last fall, Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify after a dispute over “1989.” She later joined musicians such as Jack White and Madonna in allowing her music — except for the latest album — to be played on Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal.

In an article in The Wall Street Journal last year, Swift wrote that she remained optimistic about the music industry, saying “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace.”

In Sunday’s message to Apple, the pop-culture superstar said she is speaking for “every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much.” She wrote:

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Swift, who has been photographed in the past while listening to her music on an Apple device, closed with: “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, confirmed she wrote the letter and that she is withholding the album from Apple Music.

Read the full letter here.

VIDEO – http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/apple/apple-pay-artists-after-taylor-swift-shames-company-letter-n379476

The issue of Internet & Communications Technologies (ICT) and its effects on community commerce has been exhaustingly considered by the Go Lean movement (book and blog/commentaries). The old business models simply do not work anymore. There is the need to employ leading edge technologies to facilitate a better model for this new world of electronic commerce. This point has been of sharp debate in public forums. Consider a sample of the comments here from many on this Wall Street Journal article; across the board, they are both pro-and-con:

11:40 am June 21, 2015 – Dan wrote:
These “artists” are paid entirely too much already. Produce a product once, and get paid every time it’s used.

11:42 am June 21, 2015Kevin wrote:
Taylor got paid more than every CEO except 3 last year. Where’s the outrage from the left demanding she charges less for her albums to reduce inequity?

11:48 am June 21, 2015 – Fair is fair! wrote:
Apple is marketing their sight. No reason the artists should pay Apples marketing.
Good for you Taylor to stand up for your fellow artists!

11:54 am June 21, 2015 – Steve wrote:
I love Apple in many ways, but believe they should pay the artists during the free trial period. It doesn’t matter if the artist is already the highest paid or not. It is the principal, this progressive company which revolutionized the way we listen to music a decade ago, should adhere to. It should be a win / win situation for all involved.

12:24 pm June 21, 2015 – Michael Ball wrote:
Apple is sitting on one of the biggest war chests on the planet. There is no reason that any artist should be forced into underwriting Apple’s R&D.

This is just bad behavior. Good on Taylor for calling them out. Takes a big voice to take down a big bully.

And to “Dan” above: that’s also the economic model of the software business… Do you take issue with that, as well?

12:35 pm June 21, 2015 – Johnny Nevo wrote:
GREAT!!! I always loved her, but THIS is the best.. Screw Apple. Apple is attempting to CONTROL the music business… like in the old days of Payola. Without even hearing it I will buy this CD. I remember a great anecdote from a Bob Dylan . Club owner says to Bob, “you got a great sound, but you have to play here for FREE, to get some experience.”

The music industry, in the US and here at home, needs reform and to transform. The first step is to recognize that intellectual property is property. Far too often, people think that unless they can touch-and-feel, that the value appreciation is not the same. This is how our society values chattel goods. It is what it is!

The required change calls for a new “community ethos”:

“that fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period” – Go Lean … Caribbean Page 20.

Early in the book, the contribution that intellectual property (music, film, electronic games, art exhibition, literature, etc.) can make to a society is pronounced as an ethos for the entire region to embrace. This is featured in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 15) with these statements:

xxxii. Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

Like Taylor Swift, the Caribbean has also featured transformative musical artist; (think Bob Marley, he impacted the music, culture and economics of the region). It would be sad if such intellectual property was not properly compensated in the world of commerce. This must be fixed, for the success of future generations of talented, inspirational and influential artists – musical geniuses – to follow. But it is only justice that past artists get due compensation for their talents and hard work as well. The music business dictates income, jobs and economic opportunities for its stakeholders. The opening Declaration of Interdependence addressed these concerns explicitly, (Page 13):

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

The Go Lean/CU roadmap asserts that change has come to the Caribbean. The people, institutions and governance of the region are all urged to “lean-in” to this roadmap for change. We know there are musical talents in the Caribbean, a “new” Taylor Swift or a “new” Bob Marley; these ones are waiting to be fostered. But these ones need the eco-system of a music industry that is effective and efficient! Not the Crony-Capitalism of the past; (or according to the foregoing article, the crony practices that were proposed by Apple)!

One woman, in this case … made a difference! Her advocacy reminds us of the famous quotation:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke.

“Kudos” to Taylor Swift!

The prime directive of the book Go Lean…Caribbean is to elevate the regional society, but instead of impacting America, the roadmap focus is the Caribbean first. In fact, the declarative statements are as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy and create 2.2 million new jobs, many in the arts and encompassing intellectual property.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant societal engines against economic crimes, like digital piracy.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance – with appropriate checks-and-balances – to support these engines.

The roadmap specifically encourages the region, to lean-in to open advocacy with these specific community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 23
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Close the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness – Appreciation of the Arts Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good – Needs of the many outweigh the few Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Single Market of 30 Member-States with optimized economic engines Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Foster Currency System to allow for Electronic Payments Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Enact a Security Apparatus Against Economic   Crimes & Threats Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – Department of Commerce – Communications & Media Authority Page 79
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – Department of Commerce – Performance Rights Organization Page 81
Anatomy of Advocacies – Examples of Individuals Who Made Impact Page 122
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Cyber Caribbean Page 127
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership – Individual Contributions Page 171
Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime – Federal Jurisdiction for Economic Crimes Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis – Policing the Internet Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Reforms for Banking Regulations – e-Purse and Internet Commerce Page 199
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood – And the Media Industries Page 203
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts – Respect for Intellectual Property Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music – Payment   Eco-System Page 231
Appendix – Trade S.H.I.EL.D. – For Interdictions in Digital Piracy Page 264
Appendix – Caribbean Musical Genres – 169 in the 30 Member-States Page 347
Appendix – Copyright Infringement – Catching a Thief in Music Page 351

The Caribbean region wants a more optimized economic and security apparatus, to protect citizens, their property and institutions; including the owners of intellectual property. This includes, among others, software developers, artists and musicians.

The music industry has often been victimized by Crony-Capitalism and the eventual “abuse of power”. We must do more now; we must do better. This Go Lean book posits that “bad actors” – even music company executives – will emerge to exploit inefficient economic, security and governing models.

The Go Lean book explicitly acknowledges that optimizing the needs for artists and their art is not an easy feat; this requires strenuous effort; heavy-lifting. This is the quest of the CU/Go Lean roadmap: an optimized technocracy with better oversight for the regional industrial footprint, including the music/art-related industries.

Other subjects related to art, music and intellectual property for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentary, as sampled here: commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5423 Extracurricular Music Programs Boost Students As Artists
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5251 Bahamas Attempts to Transform Society with Inaugural Carnival
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3641 Building a City on ‘Rock and Roll’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3568 Forging Change: Music Moves People
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2415 How ‘The Lion King’ Music/Play roared into history
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2291 Forging Change: The Fun Theory
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1909 Music Role Model Berry Gordy: Transformed America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=866 Music Role Model Bob Marley: Legend Transformed the World
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Do Not Want From the US – #9: Cultural Neutralizations

Caribbean music is great! Caribbean music business…not so much!

This is not just a Caribbean issue. Yet, we can show the world a better model. But our goal is not to change the world; only change the Caribbean; to make our homelands better places to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Taylor Swift

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989; age 25) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label “Big Machine Records” and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift’s self-titled debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. Her third single, “Our Song,” made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the “Hot Country Songs” chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards. In 2015, Taylor Swift has become the youngest woman ever to be included on Forbes most powerful women list. She made number 65 on the Forbes annual list of the most powerful women in the world.

Swift’s second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me,” Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States. The album won four Grammy Awards, making Swift the youngest ever Album of the Year winner. Swift’s third and fourth albums, 2010’s Speak Now and 2012’s Red, both sold more than one million copies within the first week of their U.S release. Speak Now’s song “Mean” won two Grammy Awards, while Red’s singles “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” were worldwide hits. Swift’s fifth album, the pop-focused 1989, was released in 2014. It sold more copies in its opening week than any album in the previous 12 years, and made Swift the first and only act to have three albums sell more than one million copies in the opening release week. The singles “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space”, and “Bad Blood” have all reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Swift is known for narrative songs about her personal experiences. As a songwriter, she has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Swift’s other achievements include seven Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, and one Brit Award. She is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums—including 27.1 million in the U.S.—and 100 million single downloads. Swift has also had supporting roles in feature films including Valentine’s Day (2010) and The Giver (2014).

As of March 2011, it was reported that Swift had 5.7 million followers. That figure is now posted at 59,300,000. See here:

CU Blog - Taylor Swift Withholds Album From Apple Music - Photo 2



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