John Mellencamp blasted the state of the music business at a UJA Federation of New York luncheon on Thursday—but reserved some kind words for Taylor Swift, who he said is the only one doing anything to save the music industry.
The veteran rocker reportedly went on a 25-minute rant in front of 600 music industry executives at a luncheon honoring the charity work of Republic Records co-founders Monte and Avery Lipman.
Mellencamp commended Swift for facing down newly-launched streaming service Apple Music in a royalty dispute. Swift penned an open letter to Apple demanding the company reverse course and pay royalties to artists during the service’s three-month trial period. After 12 hours, Apple caved.
“Look at this little Taylor Swift taking a stand,” Mellencamp said, according to Billboard. “Where were musicians in Jersey? In Minnesota? We didn’t want to have to fight, but we have to be ready to have that fight. Taylor Swift was courageous, man. But where was I, for that matter? I tip my hat to her, and everyone else should too.”
An attendee at the luncheon told the New York Post: “He was saying that Swift’s the only one doing anything to save the business, and, ‘I applaud that young lady, she stands up for our rights. A bunch of us stand on the sidelines.'”
Swift announced Thursday that Apple Music will become the first streaming service to carry her most recent mega-hit album, 1989. The pop star sent ripples through the music industry in November when her label pulled her catalog off of streaming service leader Spotify.
Despite the rant, Monte Lipman told the Post that he was “honored” that Mellencamp was at the luncheon to support him.
“John is the epitome of rock n’ roll,” Lipman said. “Brash, outspoken and politically incorrect, one of the many reasons we love him.”