By Linsay Moore
In the words of Taylor Swift: “All I know since yesterday is everything has changed”.
And changed over the past 24 hours it certainly has. On Sunday Taylor Swift shared a blog post with her fans and followers on Tumblr, which announced that she would be withholding her platinum-selling album ‘1989’ from Apple’s upcoming music subscription service, as she was unhappy with the three-month free trial offered to subscribers.
This post was then shared via her Facebook and Twitter pages, racking up over 104,000 likes, 37,000 re-tweets and 61,000 favourites.
In a turnaround that proved the power of social media and blogging, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, quickly shared the news that Apple was changing its methods of service in-line with Swift’s criticism and would ensure all artists are paid throughout the process.
Writing on her Tumblr, Swift stated:
“I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”
Far from the cry of a spoiled kid who is only looking at the money signs, Swift instead explained that she was supporting the young, struggling musicians and producers who will not be paid anything for the first three month trial subscription period. As Swift says “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing”.
While not criticising the company itself, rather complimenting their ongoing relationship, Swift used her position as an influential artist to highlight the flaws in the soon to be released subscription service and call for a change which supports upcoming artists.
In only 17 hours, Taylor Swift took on one of the world’s biggest companies and won, in an incredibly successful display of the power of social media. More and more brands are learning to engage fans and followers and encourage them to have their say on different products, to encourage consumers to ‘buy in’ to their products before they’re even available and form a better relationship with the brand.
When Ginger Grouse, the premium alcoholic ginger beer from The Famous Grouse, were looking to re-brand their product, they asked followers on social media to help. By asking fans to answer some quick questions on the existing look of their product, Ginger Grouse unveiled their brand new design, drawn from fans’ feedback, earlier this month to great support.
Earlier this year Thomson Airways launched a social media campaign asking fans and followers to name its sixth Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Consumers were asked to capture an image of one of the Dreamliners and share on social media, using the hashtag #787Pics, to be in with a chance of having the latest addition named after them as well as a holiday for two to Mauritius. Thomson Airways announced that the aircraft will now be named ‘Neil’ after the winner Neil Langstone.
So what should brands keep in mind about social media? It provides consumers, both those who are fans of the brand, product or service and those who are not, with a forum for open discussion to air their views. While this can result in both negative and positive feedback, it is very important to engage with these members of the public and listen to their thoughts on the brand/product/service while correcting any inaccuracies. One other thing to remember, as displayed by Apple Music, is that it’s never too late to hold your hands up and admit you were wrong about something. While the manner in which you do this is important, you should never be afraid to say you were wrong about something.
Then, in the words of Taylor Swift just “shake it off, shake it off…”