Two years ago, Taylor pulled her entire library from Spotify after a dramatic “open letter” to Apple Music about valuing artists work and paying them for it. She didn’t care about herself, she claimed. It made no difference for her. She was valiantly taking on the Big Bads of the music industry like Jimmy Iovine for the sake of the little guy, the artist who relied on album sales to make a living.
What she wouldn’t tell you is that no artist makes money off of album sales if they’re signed to a label. Album sales are money for the label, not the artist. And no, money for the label does NOT mean money for the artist. What she wouldn’t tell you is that she underestimated the staying power of streaming just like almost every other major artist in the industry at the time. She underestimated Spotify and Daniel Ek like everyone else did.
This supposedly “woke” Taylor Swift, who proudly branded herself a feminist and penned manifestos about intellectual property and equal compensation unraveled faster than a rug with a loose thread from a discount bin in the charged political climate of 2016. And that was what she underestimated most of all– 2016’s ability to expose her. Because as much as she wanted to pretend like she’d had some sort of political awakening, she stayed silent in the face of a Trump v. Clinton face off. The reason for that isn’t difficult, her entire family are privileged white people who voted for Trump. She was smart enough to know that publicly aligning herself with someone so against her brand spanking new feminist image would be career suicide so instead she chose the route of silence.
Oh unless we’re not counting the ridiculous spat with Nicki Minaj where she came out looking truly disgusting and ignorant, where her white feminism was blatantly exposed. Or her run-in with Kim and Kanye where once again she exposed herself as a cold, calculating businesswoman instead of her darling best friend image she’d been working nearly her whole life to cultivate and shill. Or the train wreck known as Hiddleswift that was laughably see through even to people who don’t usually scream publicity stunt from the off.
And the combination of the two combined with an ill-timed hiatus has left a sour taste in a lot of mouths. She knows it, and still she chooses the drama play. She only knows how to deal in petty, backhanded headlines about girl spats and beefs and ex-boyfriends. She simply doesn’t have the chops to exist in this industry without using other people as her fodder.
It’s as transparent as freshly Windexed glass that she’s returning to Spotify because she can’t achieve a #1 without it. So much for the little guy. And look, if Taylor made no bones about herself I might be more inclined to respect it. As it is, I’m left remembering what Cristina Yang told Meredith Grey in the first season of Grey’s when she stole a first surgery assist out from underneath her: “You wanna be cutthroat, that’s fine. But don’t pretend you’re everyone’s best friend. At least I’m honest about it.”