Taylor Swift vs. Spotify: Why Aloe Blacc Is Taking the Discussion One Step Further
By Sophie Schillaci
With Taylor Swift unceremoniously yanking her entire catalogue from Spotify, artists are firmly taking sides on the music streaming debate.
Singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc is among the latest to speak out. The now-35-year-old burst on to the scene in 2013 providing the songwriting and vocals on Avicii's hit single "Wake Me Up." Though he'd been working in the industry for many years prior, the breakthrough led to huge new successes for the artist, whose other credits include "The Man" and 2014 FIFA World Cup track "The World Is Ours."
Now Blacc is making headlines for his recent op-ed in Wired, in which he backs Swift's controversial Spotify decision and takes the discussion one step further. ET caught up with him at The Grove's tree lighting ceremony on Sunday.
"It's definitely a hot topic because you have the concept that artists are overpaid already for what they do, and a lot of artists are," he told ET. "But there are songwriters who are not getting paid and these are the people who, for lack of a better term, don't have the resources that the artists do. I'm an artist, I get to go on stage and make money performing, but there are folks behind the scenes that don't get to. I just wish that they could get a better shake."
Blacc says that the songwriters' struggles fall in line with the current debate over minimum wage in the U.S. "I think the fight about minimum wage is one that songwriters can definitely stand up and be a part of," he said, drawing parallels between artists who create songs and workers who create products.
Swift made her opinions on the free streaming topic known over the summer in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. "It's my opinion that music should not be free," she wrote, "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."
Swift's gamble, withholding her new album 1989 from all free streaming services and ultimately pulling all of her music from them, paid off. 1989 had massive first week sales, moving more than 1.2 million copies in its first week. That’s more than any album since The Eminem Show debuted back in 2002.
But not all stars are impressed by Taylor's bold move. The Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl recently told Digital Spy, "I want people to hear our music. I don't care if you pay $1 or f**king $20 for it; just listen to the f**king song."
And there's more: "You want people to f**king listen to your music? Give them your music and then go play a show. They like hearing your music? They'll go see a show. To me, it's that simple."
For what it's worth, Taylor recently told Yahoo that she wasn't "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." Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek has rebutted her statements, issuing a lengthy statement that suggested Swift – before pulling her tracks – was on track to earn $6 million this year from the service.
Do you miss hearing Taylor on Spotify? Hit the comments with your thoughts on the hot topic and join the conversation on Twitter using #ETNow.