music / Columns

411 Music Fact or Fiction: Could A Taylor Swift Streaming Service Be Successful?

March 24, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Taylor Swift

Welcome to the 411 Music Fact or Fiction! This week, Joseph Lee takes on Jeremy Thomas.

A Taylor Swift streaming service would have to be cheap to be successful.

Joseph Lee: FACT – It probably won’t be, because Taylor Swift strikes me as the greedy type, but yeah, it probably will. You have to figure that it’ll more than likely only feature Swift’s music and videos and anything more than say, five bucks a month is going to be high to people who want to hear “Shake It Off” every once in a while. Most reasonable people aren’t going to spend a large amount of money, monthly, on one and only one artist.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – For it to be a big hit perhaps, but successful? Not so much. Taylor Swift’s streaming service plans — named “Swifties,” because of course it is — isn’t just about her music but also concert footage, interviews, articles and the like. This is all stuff that won’t be high cost to her because she’s not licensing the way that Spotify or Tidal do, so she doesn’t have the same level of overhead and can easily get by on way less subscribers. I’m not saying that it can be ridiculously priced, but in these streaming days I would consider $10 to $15 to be “not cheap” and that would be a sane price point for her megafans, of which she has plenty. I can definitely see this being successful at that level.

Breaking Spotify records isn’t as big a deal as music websites say it is.

Joseph Lee: FACT – It seems like every month someone’s breaking record on the service, so it doesn’t really have much of a meaning right now. If say, Drake can hold onto the record he has now for…years, then maybe it’ll mean more when an up and coming rapper, let’s call him Drake II, regains it. But trading the record back and forth isn’t really setting it as this high bar to clear.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – If only because we’re still early in the life cycle of Spotify when you look at the grand scheme of things. Streaming is still a quickly-growing platform and thus records are going to be broken more and more as more people start using Spotify. That’s not to say that the records don’t have significance, but see where we’re at in even two to three years and it will make the current “most streams within its first week” records seem funny in comparison.

As it turns 20 this year, Selena is still one of the best music biopics.

Joseph Lee: FICTION – 20 years this past Tuesday, actually. Not to take a shot at the movie, because it is well-acted and decent enough, but I don’t really remember anything from it. There’s plenty of biopics that are better and that stick with the viewer longer after it’s over.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Is it a great music biopic? Yeah, definitely. But one of the best? That’s a tall order. I am an enormous fan of well-done biopics on music artists and just off the top of my head I think that Walk the Line, I’m Not There, Sid And Nancy, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Ray, Straight Outta Compton, La Vie en Rose, Love & Mercy, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Amadeus and, perhaps the most underrated of all music biopics, Control are all significantly better than Selena. And again, that’s just the ones I can think of right now without Googling. I would put Selena in the upper tier without question; so much of it is great and Jennifer Lopez is astounding as Selena. But with respect to the film, I wouldn’t put it among the absolute best.

SWITCH!

Mariah Carey’s animated Christmas movie won’t be very successful.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – Is anyone really clamoring for this? Let’s not forget that Eight Crazy Nights was a financial failure when it was released in 2002. And that was when Adam Sandler was near the top of his career. Mariah Carey is a wonderful singer, but she’s far from on top of her career right now and Precious and Tennessee, aside, no one associates her with film in a particularly good way. If the budget stays ridiculously low this might be a minor success, but even that is not a certain thing and I don’t expect Miss Mariah to be satisfied with straight-to-video budget numbers.

Joseph Lee: FACT – It’s a straight to DVD vanity project. While it may not be a vanity project the likes of Glitter (never forget), it’s still going to straight to video. At best, it’s a cheesy but harmless Christmas movie based on a song. That’s still not going to translate to huge sales.

You’re not interested in a memoir from Gucci Mane.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – There is literally nothing about Gucci Mane’s life story that I am interested in buying a book to learn more about. Not one thing — no, not even the stupid ice cream cone face tattoo. I’ve never been a fan of Gucci as a musician and his non-music antics have always just seemed like a guy who is screaming for attention. Frankly, I would be hard pressed to think of someone whose life I am less interested in reading about than Gucci Mane.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Not even a little. And if I don’t read memoirs from musicians I think would have wild stories, I’m certainly not going to bite for Gucci Mane.

Chuck Berry’s legacy as a rock and roll pioneer is intact.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT: Easiest fact of all time. Chuck Berry was one of the true creators of rock and roll, end of story. Without him, we would not have the music industry that we have today. He was one of the greatest music artists of all-time, and certainly from the rock and roll era. He is literally an influence on every genre of music that is currently receiving any level of radio play or popularity and he will always be remembered as one of the men who was instrumental in creating what we consider popular music today.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Most people remember his music and reference in Back to the Future and less his legal trouble in the late 80s, so yeah, I’d say it’s going to be fine.

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