Patrick Clark

The Fiddlist

Taylor Swift, Music, Photography, and More

Okay, so let's be honest... Standing up to Apple takes guts.  Good for Taylor for standing up!  It takes a powerful voice to move music royalty payments in a positive direction.  How many people are screaming inside, or out loud about how they've been taken advantage of by the whole music industry?  Countless I'm sure.  I have a little closer connection to this because some of my friends work for her.  Those friends have told me stories of her genuine good naturedness.  I believe them.  So, taking a stand against a powerhouse company like Apple is from a heart of genuine caring about what happens to her and other people.  

Sure, it's about her... But she could have left it at that.  She didn't.  She rallied the troops, waved the flag, sounded the trumpet, and forced the retreat.  Good for her.  Her stand made her money.  She's rich.  Does she want money? Sure. Who doesn't? But she also made other people money too.  She called out a company who, last time I checked, had more cash in the bank than the United States of America, and called their bluff.  

Maybe they decided not to push back because they wanted to save face.  Maybe they thought that the money they would lose in album sales was enough of a financial hit to not cut their nose off despite their face.  Who really knows?  Was it a good call?  Most would say yes.

Then there's the photographer who called her out.  Good for you... I think.  

Let me take this one bite at a time...

To the photographer who called her out I say this.  You take a risk every day when you go to work that you might not get paid.  Sorry man but bad business plan unless you're killing it with other projects and you don't care.  But you obviously care because you want to make money from your work, and you should.  Lots of money if you ask me.  But, your business plan sounds a little sketchy.  Not much of a guarantee there.

First question is, why does Taylor have that contract?  As far as I can tell, the answer is, for the most part, to protect herself, her staff, crew, and anybody else working back there from pictures being taken and used to slander her, or said persons above. Or to use the pictures out of context.  Your point has validity when you say that you want photo credit and payment if she advertises with your picture(s).  But if you don't like the terms, don't do it.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

Second question is, why don't you negotiate the contract?  Tell her that you want an amendment to certain clauses.  Again, if you don't like it, don't do it.  

Now that sounds insensitive, right?  Maybe.  It's actually matter of fact.  I see both sides. Do you?  Or are you set on discrediting a positive, industry changing action for some other personal reason?  I'm not slamming you, the photographer, because I feel your concern has merit, truly.  But if she wants show pictures, she knows people... She can have someone as good or better than you get the shots she wants and allow them to go wherever she wants.  Your being there isn't that important, to be honest.  You even said that in your follow up edit because you said that if another, bigger story comes in, your shots get pushed aside and you lose money.  Again, business plan...

Here's the real issue that you, the photographer, and many other musicians who want to make money off of their music are dealing with.  The CONSUMER, is demanding FREE.  And we the artists are somehow more than willing to oblige.  Simple.  

You could also think of it this way...  Contractor A does a job for $5k.  Contractor B does a job for $3k.  Same job, same quality.  Who are you going to go with? That makes Contractor A mad.  But, then comes Contractor C, same job, same PEOPLE, for $2k.  Who gets the job now?  Who's mad now?  Who loses money?  Well, everyone really.  Down the line, everyone loses.

Why did I bring the word PEOPLE to the front?  Because that's who's fault it is.  I get wanting to be successful and willing to do whatever it takes to get there.  Even if it means you sell out.  How many PEOPLE were willing to do the job for less, and less, just to do the job before they trashed the market?  

I know there are so many factors to consider and it all comes down to what you the artists, musician, photographer, etc. WANT out of the deal.  It could be fame, it could be money... probably money.  But who's making the money?  Is it the "rich get richer" syndrome?  Sure.  Money is power. But if the artists aren't making money, who is?  Again, to the artists, business plan?  Did you make one when you decided to do this? Was the gamble worth it?

The way I see it, there's two ways to make a change.  Do what Taylor did because, well, she has a lot of money. Or, for the photographer with a bad business plan, get everyone, and I mean everyone, to say no.  The problem is, too many people won't say no.  They will say yes and they'll do it for nothing.  Thus begins the cycle again.  

One last thing, I'm not sure Taylor has ever laid eyes on that contract the photographer posted.  Who knows if she even okayed it.  Do you have any idea how insulated she is?  She has people, who have people, who know people, who take care of that stuff.  Maybe she has seen it.  Who knows, but you the photographer, and me, the musician, we have the option to say no.  We all do.  If you stand against an issue in mass, it might change because nobody wants to loose the almighty dollar.  The bigger issue here is the marginalization of art in a consumer based, capitalist, all about me, me, me, entertain me society.  Change that, and you might be looking at some headway.  

I get the gripe from the photographer, but your issue IS the bigger issue and Taylor just took one giant whack at it and nailed it.  Roll with that!