By Kevin Rutherford
Ever have it happen in high school where your teacher royally pissed you off and you just had to say something? Imagine for example that your English teacher insists giving a test own on the very same day when half the class is already cramming for multiple other chapters-spanning major exams in other classrooms. It is unfair to everyone in the class.
After days of deliberation during which you and your friends try to no avail to push back the test, you’re no closer than you were to getting a fair shake—that is, until the most popular kid in class, the smartest, most-loved kid who could fail the test and still be valedictorian, speaks up. In their loving opinion, they don’t think it would be beneficial to neither them nor the rest of the class, especially with the big football game coming up, to do things the teacher’s way.
The teacher acquiesces immediately and without question.
It’s funny because when she started out, Taylor Swift was not seen as the cool kid. She wasn’t the popular one. Her whole schtick was the everygirl who sat on the bleachers at the football game, cheering on the hunk and staying by his side as a friend and confidante while he went for the head cheerleader, blind to what was beside him.
In that past life, Swift may have been among those crying out for fairness, begging for her rights as an artist, bartering for compensation. Now she’s the head honcho, arguably the biggest pop star in the world as of 2015. We report on her every move, each statement, even who’s she’s hanging out with via Instagram. And that’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with her meteoric rise to stardom.
What is interesting is how Taylor Swift wields her influence, whether it’s by removing all of her music from Spotify, withholding 1989 from TIDAL, pulling off a massive album rollout, or actually selling 1 million copies of an album in a week in a non-album-focused climate. So when the former country bigwig penned an open letter to Apple over the weekend condemning Apple Music‘s decision to not pay out royalties to its artists, writers and producers for the first three months’ free trial, her panning of the “shocking, disappointing” decision to do so was about as high-profile a scolding as the company could get—and again, given her thoughts on Spotify, certainly not out of left field.
Except then Apple changed its tune. Immediately.
This isn’t a problem; Apple Music paying royalties during that first three-month period is necessary. We’re talking one of the giants in tech, one that almost certainly has the capital to eat the costs of the service for the first three months while the plebes are blissfully spinning Taylor Swift music old and new. A free trial doesn’t suddenly eliminate costs for everyone involved.