Shaking Off the Haters

Streaming is back on the national agenda. With the government continuing its misguided attempts at a crackdown on piracy, more and more music listeners will be turning to streaming to get the greatest bang for their entertainment buck. And while it owns the world’s biggest music platform, Apple is looking to get a foot into the lucrative world of streaming – albeit with a bit of help from Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift

Any advancements in streaming always brings up the moral debate. Are artists getting paid enough for their music? Are we ultimately hurting the music industry that we want to hear so much from? And the biggest spokesperson for this noble cause is Taylor Swift. After a previous stoush with streaming pioneer Spotify that resulted in pulling her entire catalogue, Taylor Swift has once again hit out at Apple for refusing to pay their artists during the three month free trial they were offering to new customers.

Taylor Swift is in a unique position when it comes to campaigning for artists’ rights. Not only is the campaign seen as a noble cause, Taylor’s other big advantage is that her incredibly loyal fans will literally follow her off a cliff. Through some very careful brand building over many years ensuring that she always goes out of her way for her fans and always appears relatable, she has managed to develop incredibly loyalty. If Taylor doesn’t want to use Spotify, neither do her fans.

And Taylor Swift’s crowd managed to make enough noise on the issue following behind their leader.

After hitting out at Apple, the company immediately released a statement saying that they made the announcement to test the public sentiment towards the contentious decision with the opportunity to renege at any point.

I don’t mean to be rude, but ‘yeah right’.

A company as big as Apple doesn’t make an announcement only to test the public sentiment and do a complete flip on the issue. If they did, they wouldn’t be in possession of the world’s strongest brand. Apple is known for making highly calculated moves that ensure satisfaction from their followers and there are many other ways to test a strategy such as this one without announcing it to the world.

What this situation highlights is the power of people with incredibly loyal followers. Especially those in the entertainment industry which is largely built on public sentiment. If Apple is going to muscle its way into the already over-crowded streaming marketplace – where most people who will stream are already streaming from another service – the last thing any company would want to do is annoy someone who could turn into their biggest advocate and point-of-difference. (Taylor Swift pulled all of her music from other streaming services).

Because the best part about this story is Taylor Swift, who initially gained lots of press for hate, hate, hating on the product, has now led her followers straight back to Apple due to their landmark decision. (Plus, they will have picked up the disgruntled Spotify users who can’t listen to Taylor’s music!).

In the world of streaming, Taylor Swift was once the biggest hater. But managing to turn her around in the public perception makes people sit up and think ‘Well, this service must be better than all the others’. And that’s where they will win their market share holding onto the top place out of all entertainment providers.