Taylor Swift gave Apple's new music streaming service the cold shoulder this week.
And it's not just Taylor. A lot of big-name artists like Metallica, Def Leppard, The Beatles, Jay Z, and Beyonce all have odd relationships with the various music streaming services out there. They're the superstars of the music world, and they have the clout to circumvent the labels' negotiations with streaming services and do pretty much whatever they want.
But at the end of the day, a handful of superstars revolting against Apple and Spotify won't destroy the music streaming business. It's the only segment in the industry showing any real growth, and Apple Music has the potential to provide a massive boost.
Ideally, you'd be able to get any song or album you want for that $10 per month you pay for Apple Music or Spotify. But there are far too many wonky contracts, egos, and other moving parts keeping that from ever becoming a reality.
Taylor Swift and some other indie artists appear to be upset because Apple Music gives you a free three-month trial for unlimited music streaming. The artists don't want to participate because they won't be getting paid while new Apple Music users are gobbling up all their music for free.
Of course, Apple has plenty of cash to compensate artists for the three-month free trial period for Apple Music. But that's not a wise investment. Taylor Swift has a lot of fans, but just because her most recent album isn't going to be on Apple Music doesn't mean the service will flop. When she did the same thing to Spotify about a year ago, Spotify's paid user base continued to grow. People didn't suddenly ditch the service because they couldn't listen to Taylor Swift.
Taylor's most rabid fans have probably already purchased the album through iTunes or — yikes! — at a record store. And if they did that, "1989" will be available within the new Apple Music app when it launches at the end of the month.
And that highlights a big potential advantage for Apple Music over Spotify and the rest. Apple Music syncs with iTunes, the largest digital music store on the planet. If for some reason you can't find the song you want in Apple's 30 million-track streaming library, you'll still be able to buy it through iTunes and listen to it in the same app.
Music streaming isn't a perfect alternative to buying individual songs the old fashioned way. It's a wonderful supplement, but you're still essentially renting the music you listen to. Apple Music can bring the best of both worlds together.
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