The future of the music industry according to Taylor Swift

(Photo: Jaime King via Taylor Swift's Instagram)
(Photo: Jaime King via Taylor Swift’s Instagram)

Guess it’s time for me to pack it in, Taylor Nation.

There’s a new article on the Wall Street Journal. It’s written by the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar herself, Taylor Swift. Here at the Swift Agen- wait, I can’t compete with Taylor! If she’s writing articles, I’m done. I’m through. Packing my bags. Hitting the road. Taking the bus.

Back up, baby, back up… Let’s start from the beginning.

Taylor begins her essay stating she believes the music industry is undergoing a rebirth. In her own words, “it’s coming alive.” She gives much props and value to the studio album. She does not shy away from mentioning how piracy may have affected album sales. “Music is art, and art is important and rare,” Taylor writes. “Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”

That is a strong statement there. I can see a little of the business woman peeking through that affirmation that there should be a value to the album. But there’s poetry and a little bit of an indie flare when states in the same sentence that artists and their labels should define it. Not iTunes, not the distributor, not the marketplace. Name your price.

She does admit that albums are being bought less – but she reaffirms, they’re still getting bought. Everyone has their own favorite lists of artists that we’ve known most of our lives and for the Sparkly Dressed, those are the ones we’ll stick with and solely buy albums from. “We will cherish every album they put out,” she says, “until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren.”

When they point to the pictures, remember her name.

Taylor is usually reserved about what she says about the way other artists do what they do, but she is far from a shy person when she writes. She addresses the ability to surprise the fans. She draws a line in the sand at “shock” strategies. She doesn’t want to be misquoted here.

And to be fair, who knows more about the music industry that someone who continues to be successful in it? Taylor acknowledges this is not because of album sales. “In the future,” she states, “artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around.” I’m going to disagree here. I think that is happening already. It’s the artist who brings fans that gets the deal.

Scott Borchetta said something once asking a question about new artists starting up. He said that you want to be active in social media. You want to bring the personal websites and the social networking follower fan base with you. Biggest thing in your resume is to build your fan base before you see the labels. Get yourself out there.

T-Swizzle also addresses the blurred lines of genre she keeps walking over. “The wild, unpredictable fun in making music today is that anything goes,” she says. Taylor might not win any fans with people who prefer their music genres firmly traditional. That’s fine, she’s became her own genre a long time ago. The same as movies can have a drama, comedy, romance, mystery, horror, adventure… Why not music?

I expect not everyone to be crazy about the idea, but here’s the thing: you can technically have both. You can have traditional and contemporary. But for the Enchantress, the choice is clear: “I want to make music that reflects all of my influences,” writes Taylor, “and I think that in the coming decades the idea of genres will become less of a career-defining path and more of an organizational tool.”

This is my favorite quote, by the way:

The only real risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all.

– Taylor Swift via the Wall Street Journal

You’d think she’d call attention to what artist do nowadays, but Taylor’s more savvy than that. She’s calling attention to what fans do, to their obsession with the personal lives of young artists. She doesn’t expect that to change. She wants both sides of the debate of good girl versus bad girl and sexy versus clean well represented because… everyone needs to relate. A rather pragmatic and non-judgemental side from the Princess in Red.

She closes the article a little bit nostalgic. It’s that old-time classic feeling that she likes to evoke, as if all of this were already written in a history book somewhere and she’s just reminiscing. Makes me feel a little sad, but it feels like she’s writing from an age away looking back, “growing old, watching all of this happen or not happen, all the while trying to maintain a life rooted in this same optimism.”

Clever girl, she knows just how to write. I just wish I could protect this article from all the misunderstandings, misquotes, misinterpretations and out-of-context phrases that will follow. Unfortunately, I can’t but I will be here to clear them up. Guess I’m still writing after all.

The ending is a little cryptic, quirky and definitely Taylor-esque:  “And I’d also like a nice garden.”

PS: I can’t help but think she hid a clue on that last line 🙂

You can read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.

Don’t forget to vote for Taylor Swift for the 2014 Teen Choice Awards. The Sparkly Dressed is nominated for Teen Choice Female Artist, Choice Country Artist & Choice Smile. The show airs on FOX August 10. You can vote everyday here.

Coming up on the Calendar!

  • August 10: 2014 Teen Choice Awards airs on FOX. Taylor Swift is nominated for Teen Choice Female Artist, Choice Country Artist & Choice Smile. You can vote everyday here.

(Sources: Wall Street Journal)

3 thoughts on “The future of the music industry according to Taylor Swift

  1. Thomas

    ” “In the future,” she states, “artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around.” I’m going to disagree. I think most forward-thinking labels already know that it’s the artist who brings fans that gets the deal. ” – And why would you disagree when she says the exact same thing as you..? In the past an artist usually wasn’t very known in the public until they got signed, then the label promoted them and they got fans after that. What Taylor says is that now and in the future the labels will focus more on artists that already have put themselves out there and proven they can create a fanbase without a label behind them. Isn’t that what you meant also? Take Ed Sheeran as an example, he had record sales to show for when he finally got signed. Taylor herself had a million fans on MySpace that interacted with her already when she got signed. I just got a little confused by your disagreeing and then your explanation of why, it seems like you and Taylor mean the same thing basically or am I reading your explanation wrong?

    1. The Editor

      I knew that was going to throw some people off for a loop with that one. I disagree with the fact that it will be in the future. I think it’s happening already.

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