retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It was a vivid illustration of the power of social media.

"I knew you were trouble," Taylor Swift essentially said to Apple.

"Stay, stay, stay," Apple essentially responded.

That's what happened this week when Swift - arguably the biggest pop star on the planet - argued publicly that Apple was not willing to pay royalties to singers whose music is not part of a three-month free trial period for its new streaming music service. Swift's position was that artists should be paid for their art - and she underlined her point by saying that Apple could not use her "1989" album on the service.

Swift made her position public by using social media ... and the resulting attention forced Apple's hand, as the company - arguably the world's most powerful brand - quickly agreed to pay full royalties even during the free trial period.

Variety writes: "When was the last time you saw Apple — or any corporation anywhere near its size, really — buckle that swiftly to that kind of attack, especially considering the source was a twentysomething waif?

"It’s rare to see any Fortune 500 company move so nimbly when it comes to counteracting a potential negative shift in the court of public opinion. Commend Apple if you will, though it’s worth wondering why it even came down to Swift’s camp needing to resort to targeting the company rather than settling matters at the negotiation table before this could even get public."

The New York Times writes that when Swift raised her objections, she said that "she was also speaking for other musicians who were afraid to speak up about the issue, and her comments found wide support in the music world."

On Twitter, Elvis Costello reportedly called Swift "our future President.”

Hail to the Chief.

If nothing else, she knows how to campaign, and to use social media effectively. It was an Eye-Opener.
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