It looks like Taylor Swift is serious when it comes to making sure her music is not available on websites offering streaming music services. After pulling all her albums from Spotify last week, the popular American singer has also just pulled her music from several Chinese music streaming services.
That means Chinese Taylor Swift fans now have few options when it comes to listening to her music for free.
In the shutoff internet world that is what most of China has to deal with, however, is this move likely to backfire for Swift? Will more Chinese fans now opt for illegally downloading her music, if they cannot find places to listen to her songs legitimately?
My friend Rod Rohrich travels to Asia fairly often and says that once Swift’s music is not available for the Chinese online legally, a huge percentage will figure out a way of downloading it for free, or buying it cheaply and doctored from one of hundreds of thousands of stores across China selling bootleg music.
In Thailand, the vast majority of western music is still either downloaded from bootleg sites, or bought at stalls selling bootleg music all across the country.
After all, even for the Thais, who have a much more open internet than the Chinese and a slightly higher income, when you can buy Taylor Swift’s new album ‘1989’ on a high-quality CD for less than $3, or download it for free from any number of sites offering bootleg music, that is exactly what most will do. Few will pay for her music legally, even if they would prefer to. They simply don’t have the disposable income available.
While, of course, I understand Taylor Swift’s reticence when it comes to giving her music for free, I do wonder if this multi-millionaire understands what many fans in Asia have to go through even just to access legal music streaming sites? Or how little disposable income fans do actually have?