Taylor Swift has long been known for her musical prowess and ability to connect with her audience. However, her experience with streaming services has been anything but simple. Not only has she achieved unparalleled commercial success since making her debut 19 years ago, but she has also had a profound influence on the music industry.
The Love Story singer, 33, is known for challenging the streaming album release model by often advising her fans to buy physical media rather than listen to her songs online. Today, it is easy to forget that her music was absent from Spotify in the 2010s. Here, she makes it obvious that she is in charge of both her emotions and her business decisions.
Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan, the Oppenheimer director, has long supported the traditional method of making movies. Frequently expressing his preference for DVD / Blu-ray over streaming, he has been outspoken about his dislike of streaming services.
When Taylor Swift Pulled Her Music From Spotify
According to what we know from the Rolling Stone article, Taylor Swift emphasized the value of albums to both musicians and fans before her 1989 was released. In November 2014, she took her entire discography off Spotify, arguing that the ad-supported free service undercuts the premium service, which gives songwriters higher royalties. She informed the outlet:
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
Also, she discussed her conflicted feelings toward streaming services and how the industry handles musicians in an interview with Yahoo! News:
“All I can say is music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music.”
The singer didn’t stop there. In 2015, she took on tech giant Apple, according to Billboard, after it became apparent that the company was not paying artists for streams made during the service’s three-month free trial. Swift wrote an open letter to the company, challenging the decision’s fairness and requesting that it adopt a different strategy.
Christopher Nolan Also Went to Bat For Physical Media
As we all know, the apparent slow death of physical media parallels the rise of streaming and the studios’ relentless push in that direction. This is evidently bad for business, and it appears to be an abrupt decision. Christopher Nolan told IGN about the situation.
“It’s an essential revenue stream. I mean, Best Buy is certainly carrying this movie, and they’re going to carry on selling the players, so I’m not sure quite what motivated that decision. It doesn’t really make sense, but a lot of economic decisions around home video have always been based on the need to show short-term growth rather than the long-term health of the business.”
Using digital video for his films and favoring real effects over computer-generated imagery are two of Nolan’s most distinctive approaches. He is drawn to the home video versions because of their superior quality. As he told Konbini, he is not impressed by the compression or the lack of control in streaming (via DiscussingFilm):
Christopher Nolan says he prefers DVD/Blu-ray to streaming:
“There’s much less compression, we control the color, brightness and all these things. Streaming is like broadcasting a film, we don’t have much control on how it goes out.”
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 22, 2023
Moreover, Nolan expressed worries about the growing popularity of streaming-only releases, pointing out the dangers and importance of preserving movies on physical media. During a screening of Oppenheimer, he told The Washington Post that having the movie on Blu-ray is essential to ensure that “no evil streaming service can come steal it from you”, further adding:
“It was a joke when I said it. But nothing’s a joke when it’s transcribed onto the internet. There is a danger, these days, that if things only exist in the streaming version they do get taken down, they come and go.”
With the entertainment industry being continuously shaped by technology, it is heartening to see celebrities like Taylor Swift and Christopher Nolan urging us to appreciate the beauty and worth of physical albums or films.