Thank You, Taylor Swift!

Thank You, Taylor Swift!

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Next week, Apple, already an innovator when it comes to how we listen to music, will launch Apple Music. Despite their marketing efforts, I was completely unaware, as I am not a part of what I affectionately call “The iCult.” Unaware until pop music princess Taylor Swift announced that she would not allow her wildly popular album, “1989,” to appear on the multinational technology company’s streaming service, that is.

Taylor SwiftI will admit that I am a fan of Taylor Swift. Her catchy songs, especially from the aforementioned album, get my toes tapping, and when I get to know the lyrics, I might even sing along in the car, while cutting the grass, or even when I’m out on a walk.

Music tastes aside, Taylor Swift did something that I wish more people would, when it comes to things with which they disagree. She withheld her wildly popular album, which is home to four chart-topping singles since its release eight months ago, and used her celebrity, popularity, and audience to affect change in her industry without getting her Congressman or Senator involved to have the government “do something.”

The issue at hand was about Apple’s plan not to pay royalties to artists during the initial 3-month trial they offer to new subscribers to the service, something that Swift found “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company“. She points to “the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success” as the real beneficiaries of her action.

Far too often, we see individuals and groups running to Big Government to change something that they disagree with or are offended by. In both of the instances noted above, people voted with their feet, something I remember Clark Howard saying frequently on Atlanta radio when I grew up. They affected change, not by rallying a City Council to deny a proposed Wal-Mart’s building plan to stop construction or by getting a law enacted in their state that’s named after someone affected by an ultra-rare situation, but by using the power of markets.

I’m pleased to share that Apple reversed course, and all my libertarian Taylor Swift fans (and maybe some who want to listen to the artist that used markets over Big Government) will be able to stream “1989” on Apple Music during the trial period and beyond.

I would be remiss not to mention that Taylor’s media blitz around this story brought up an interesting take on the contract she has photographers sign. There are some signs of change on the horizon here as well.

Imagine that. All of this was solved by peaceful, voluntary interaction, and NOT the intervention of Big Government

Brett Bittner serves as the Executive Director of the Advocates for Self-Government. Originally from Georgia, Brett has lived in South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Indiana. The Indianapolis resident was Marketing Director for The Advocates before becoming the Executive Director in April 2015. Prior, he served in multiple roles for the Libertarian Party, including Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, Chairman of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (LSLA), and Chairman of the largest county affiliate in Georgia. In addition to his Libertarian Party credentials, Brett also served as a member of the Marietta City School Board, being elected in a special election to fulfill an unexpired term and re-elected the following year to a full term. He also served on the Steering Committee for Get A Move On ATL, a project of the Civic League of Regional Atlanta. Currently, he also serves as founder, and on the board, of the the Indianapolis chapter of America’s Future Foundation. He addresses civic and leadership groups throughout on current issues and free-market solutions. He is a frequent contributor to newspapers and radio programs around the country and spent two years providing free-market perspectives as a commentator on a daily Liberty Express radio program.