The more thing change, the more things stay the same is the line we’ve all heard thousands of times. The problem is that sometimes we really need to remember the reasons why we’ve heard it so much.
More often than not it’s because – it’s true. And it happens far more often but exactly; how it happens, is where many fail to see the bigger picture behind the snapshot of the time.
Today I would like to draw your attention to someone as well as something that has implications far more broad and far more sweeping than what anyone now even considers, let alone “thinks.”
Today it was announced via many media channels that Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog off of the streaming music titan Spotify™. Whether you like her, don’t know her music, (she’s today 25-year-old pop sensation) or anything else about her, what you can not do – is not pay attention to this action by her in the bigger picture if: you consider yourself a serious entrepreneur.
In a nut shell what she has done is this: She has taken action in demonstrating it’s not up to others to give away or pay shavings of a penny as to the originator and property holder (as in copyrights, trademarks, et al) of a said material. Then to make money or a business based on that artists material unless both sides have agreed to the terms. And she clearly does not.
But you can’t make that call unless you own those rights!
Owners decide where, when, or how their property is distributed. Not the distributor. Remember – Ms. Swift creates Ms. Swift products. Not Spotify or anyone else. And while Spotify or anywhere else might be a great place for someone to go listen to Ms. Swift’s products. Without her – they don’t have a business or a product to sell. (over simplification but you get the gist)
In today’s world of people (and I am speaking directly to entrepreneurs here) putting out everything they have, everywhere, for free. The question must be asked as you look in the mirror: If you put your product everywhere, on every platform for free – who in the world is going to ever pay you for that product? Ever?
I absolutely stand up and applaud Ms. Swift for what she’s doing. At 25 years old she is showing more fortitude and business savvy than people I speak with running major conglomerates that are more than twice her age.
I addressed this is an earlier article on how I summed up the Amazon™ vs Hachette™ battle. Don’t let this now seemingly “not that big of deal” get lost on you. For it’s far more to shape into a true ground shaking event if others take notice and follow her lead.
For those that may have forgotten, this is not that dissimilar than the first cracking in the “peer-to-peer” war that took Napster™ and that whole idea of “music should be free for everyone” meme back in 2000.
Remember when Metallica (the now world dominant heavy metal band) shot the first salvo across that doomed ship’s bow when they sued? (where even a great many of their loyal fans cried foul)
Then they stuck to their guns and said (I’m paraphrasing) “It’s our music, our songs – we decide – not anyone else!”
Suddenly Napster went from the darling of “freebies” everywhere to not only bankruptcy court, but many would say (me included) was the rebirth of artists actually getting paid once again with the introduction of iTunes™.
Whether the subsequent deals going forward were good or not is irrelevant. Artists once again had some form of control of their music.
And once the catcalls calmed down, Metallica for all the bad press and fan bashing they received during that process went on to be both bigger, as well as stronger. I believe this isn’t that far removed from this prior episode in “paying for content” history.
You don’t have to be a fan of Taylor Swift music. However, if you’re a fan of entrepreneurship and business fortitude? You can’t help but sing the praises of her tenacity to decide exactly how, or where her business is going to be both presented as well as available. (as in sold)
Far too many are worried about their vanity metrics. (likes, followers, etc.) It’s refreshing to see someone so young in a world dominated by those same vanity metrics be concerned with what’s most important. Being true to their business – not just the vanity.
She deserves kudos in my book.
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr