Is Apple Pay Bigger Than 1989?

It’s cool, disruptive and completely unexpected.

Taylor Swift’s new album?


And you wonder why musicians get no respect.

That’s right, while Taylor Swift is busy cozying up to corporations, making sure her message gets out, Apple is competing with corporations and its users are up in arms complaining that CVS and Rite-Aid are out of line.


Oh, you’re not following this story? Are you really interested in whether Taylor Swift sells a million copies in a week? Have we come to this, in a nation that no longer watches the World Series, is every publication known to man gonna track whether the tree-topping songstress sells albums to 1/300th of the population? If this was a TV show, it’d be canceled.

We didn’t think we needed Apple Pay. Hell, the Cupertino company had been castigated for being behind the curve on NFC (near field communication, for the uninitiated), and then suddenly not only do they include it, they launch this totally secure payment system that’s easy to use, that brings tomorrow here today. Kind of like listening to “Purple Haze” back in ’67!

That’s one thing you do nearly every day, buy stuff. And cash is on its way out, the CD may expire first, but they’re both history. Meanwhile, when even Target can’t keep its data secure, everybody’s privacy anxious. But worthwhile stealable data is never transmitted in Apple Pay, so it’s the perfect solution.

Only CVS and Rite-Aid don’t like it. They took it, now they’ve banned it. Because they want to use their own much less secure QR code based system to exclude not only Apple, but the credit card companies. Does this sound like Pressplay to you? It does to me. Or how about the telcos, which disabled features on mobile phones before Apple came in and revolutionized the market, putting the power into the hands of the handset manufacturers.

Apple Pay is a revolution.

“1989” is a retread.

It’s not like Apple Pay has gotten no ink. But it was lost in the shuffle of the hype for the new iPhones, and the backlash against U2. It’s not sexy, it didn’t date anybody and write a song about it.

And that’s how seemingly everything great starts, off the radar, warmly embraced by early adopters, who beat the drum so loud that the rest of us pay attention.

Expect CVS and Rite-Aid to do a 180.

A million people have already put Apple Pay on their phones, so it looks like Tim Cook is a bigger rock star than Taylor Swift, he reached that number in less than a week.

And Apple’s the anti-Swift. That’s right, Taylor wants to keep you in the past, forcing you to buy a CD or files when both those formats are tanking. You think things were bad in the physical market? Downloads are off by double digits. But can you find Taylor Swift’s album on Spotify? Of course not! Meanwhile, you’ve got to go to Target to get the special edition with extras. That’s like Apple insisting you drive to Best Buy to get a phone that works with Apple Pay. Do you think Best Buy wouldn’t pay tonnage to have this exclusive feature? But that’s not how Apple rolls.

This Apple Pay story is fascinating. It’s easy to use with no glitches and nonparticipating retailers have been caught flat-footed. Users are already agitating to screw CVS and Rite-Aid, telling you how to use the most expensive credit card at their stores so the companies will lose money.

Why Some Stores Won’t Take Apple Pay, and How to Punish Them

CVS and Rite-Aid will cave. Apple Pay’s kind of like rock and roll. You can’t deny its power. The people want it, it takes over. And users smile all the while as those stuck in the past get lost there.

And sure, you’ve got to have an iPhone 6 to use Apple Pay. But we used to incentivize people in the music business too, don’t you remember? To buy CDs? But now everybody’s decrying the future, believing streaming will bankrupt them when it’s their savior, and who wants to associate with a bunch of crybabies anyway.

The “1989” songs I’ve heard are catchy. But there’s nothing groundbreaking there. And the way the press is fawning over it makes me puke. Is that how far we’ve come? When our leading recording artist makes retro music with hired hands in an effort to stay sales relevant and everybody in the media laps it up?

Well, not everybody:

“Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’: A pivot into pop, a misstep into conformity”

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