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15 December 2015, 14:19
Not cool, Tay. Not cool.
If ever there was a person who professed to be a defender of "smaller artists", it would have to be Taylor Swift. In her, now infamous, blog post to Apple Music bosses, Taylor said the following:
"Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success."
So it should come as a shock that Taylor Swift has found herself embroiled in a controversy over the illegal use of an image by a New Orleans based artist. Ally Burguieres, a visual artist who owns two galleries in Louisiana, wrote an open letter to Taylor, detailing the situation and expressing her disappointment.
Being an artist on the internet is hard. On the one had, there is a desire to have your work seen and recoginised. On the other hand, many artists live in fear that their artwork will be stolen or reproduced without their permission--in this case, by a major international pop star.
To be fair to Taylor, she likely had no idea that the art had been illegally reproduced . When it comes to compensation, Ally says she is unsatisfied by the strange demand from team Tay Tay to donate any payout to an animal based charity. Team Tay Tay refutes this claim.
This isn't the first time a musician has used another person's art to promote their own work. Diplo landed himself in hot water earlier this year when visual artist and illustrator, Rebecca Mock, called him out for the illegal use of her artwork. The strange thing is that Diplo had every opportunity to get in touch with Mock about working together but, instead, chose to just use her art without asking.
Bottom line is that, for as hard as musicians fight to be fairly compensated for their work, they should be the last people on earth to turn around and do the same to another artist. Taylor Swift and Diplo would be the first people to issue take down orders to anyone using their music without permission. We're happy for Taylor and all she has accomplished this year, but when it comes to treating artists fairly, she should lead by example.