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To Taylor, Regards World

Yes, we know who you are.

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We all know why you're doing this, Taylor Swift. Certainly you couldn't write so well yourself. Get all those commas and apostrophes in the right place. Once was a time when you were a relatively innocent country ingenue churning out those 3-chord and 4-chord teenage angst ditties by yourself. Those times are long gone. Big money found you. And took over your life. Good riddance.

You're so rich already. One wonders what more you can want. But when greed gets under one's skin, there's no letting go, is there? Perhaps next you'll complain about 'illegal' copies of your music being enjoyed in China. There are no limits. And your puppet masters don't give a shit. Because you're the one out front. You're the stooge in people's eyes. Just like those idiots who once protested against cassettes. Idiots like Tomas Ledin.

Daniel Ek would pay you millions more if he could. He's hamstrung, as you may know. He had to sell his soul to the Four Devils early on, just to get access to their song catalogues. Over 50% ownership in Spotify was sold for a very low six digits to them all. They're the ones who set the royalty rates, not Ek. Sweden's own Magnus Uggla admitted it. He liked Spotify. But his long-time friend at CBS Sweden screwed him royal, and he knew it. It wasn't Spotify. And today it's not Apple.

These are the same people who harassed little old ladies with their teams of cutthroat lawyers, deliberately ruining people's lives, just to set an example. As if technology could be turned back. But those who control you are so void of passion and understanding of music, and so low on creativity, that all they can do is try to milk existing enterprises built by others into the ground. Those are your masters, Taylor.

Now it's been revealed that Apple will indeed pay royalties even for the free three-month trial. If you'd done your homework (you haven't) you'd know that Steve Jobs beat his head into the wall just like Ek when trying to get through to your masters. Those unsympathetic people stubbornly held onto their subscription models, even though they knew they were losing money hand over fist. Steve brought in what he called armies of PhDs to talk to them and still they wouldn't listen. He finally got his iTunes, but it took a long time. It's hard to reason with people who are endemically stupid and sit on fortunes that others have made.

'Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself', you write. Yes oh so thankfully. You're a fucking millionaire, little girl, and you'll never need to worry about money for as long as you live. Unless you go do something stupid. Or let your masters rob you blind. (Yes, watch out for them. You've maybe heard about what happened to The Hives early on? Or John Fogerty at the hands of Fantasy? No, probably not.)

'These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child', you write. Of course not. They're words put in your mouth by your masters. We're not as thick as you, Taylor.

'These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much.' Wow. Evidently they want to twist the screws on Apple. They couldn't stand how Apple wouldn't let them suck the blood out of iTunes users. They'll stop at nothing. They even exploit a young somewhat talented girl that they've been able to shape into a perfect cash cow. They don't care if they ruin your life. They've done it so many times before. They've already made a lot more than you. But an order of magnitude. You're their stooge, Taylor. Their fool.

'Support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows', you end your quote. Yes, Taylor. Every man on the street knows the math today. Gaga made 25 million in two years touring. The money comes from live shows, not the printed records. Perhaps you've heard of that bygone era when concerts were the loss leader, organised only to promote record sales? Perhaps you've read what Gladys Knight had to say about that era, and how things changed when the 'bean counters' came along and changed things - and ruined them? Those bean counters are your masters, Taylor. The same breed. Roger Wallis reported in the trial of The Pirate Bay on the shift in revenue streams already ten years ago. Music generated more money, but less and less was going to the record company greedos and more and more to the artists themselves.

That's most likely the case even today. Your fellow artists aren't complaining - getting a spot on Apple Music is like getting views on YouTube: it's a chance to be known. It's cheap advertising. It worked for you once upon a time. They're poor already - what would another three months mean? And they won't get rich with the help of your friends anyway. The Rolling Stones haven't had a successful record in how many years now? And yet they're bleating billionaires?

All your letter to Apple proves is that:

  • You're a stooge. You write what you're told to write, and you tacitly believe whatever your puppet masters tell you. You've no capacity for own thought.

  • Your puppet masters run your show. They won't mind tossing you under the bus when the time comes. If you had any good sense (unlikely) then you'd break free of them right now.

Whatever: your 'backers' got too hot under the collar too soon. Again. Consumed, as they are, by greed. Apple will indeed pay royalties even on free listens. Greed, Taylor.

Sleep well tonight, Taylor. Dream of the good old days when life was less complicated. When you were but seventeen. When you thought things were innocent. When you had NFC things would go as they have. When you were encouraged to stage an ode to Tim McGraw. Lots of water under the bridge since then. You were part of an elaborate stage production, don't you realise that? And now you're a hero. But tomorrow they'll gladly transform you into the fool and feast on your carrion.

PS. 'Tim McGraw' is not a 3-chord country song - it has a G6 too.

See Also
Taylor Swift's Tumblr Blog: To Apple, Love Taylor

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