Say what you want about Taylor Swift's song stylings, but when it comes to self-promotion, cultivating a devoted fan base, and career longevity, girl's got some major game. People might throw shade at Wall Street Journal's decision to have Swift pen an essay about the music industry for its special print package "The Future of Everything" in the storied newspaper's 125th anniversary edition, but we're not going to. Consider this our official coming out as part of the Red Army.
Sure, the op-ed contains some extreme Swift-isms. "Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable." "[S]ome artists will be like finding 'the one.' We will cherish every album they put out until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren." Buried among the rhapsodic waxing, however, is some pretty profound insight about the music industry.
It's incredibly easy to bemoan a recording artist's experience in 2014, and Swift does bring up a lot of the negatives. Chief among them is the rapidly decreasing price consumers are willing to pay for music. But, Taylor is an emphatic optimist. Instead of complaining about cheap fans and illegal downloading, she offers suggestions as to how artists can make people want to buy their songs and albums. It just takes a bit more effort.
The amount of work Taylor Swift is willing to do to remain not only relevant, but also beloved, is pretty astounding when you stop to think about it. In the old days, all a performer had to do was record a track, and it was then up to the record company to market and distribute it. Swift takes personal ownership, making sure her fans not only hear her songs, but also feel a one-on-one connection to the singer.
She also talks about living in the spotlight, fame, and the pressure to conform to a good or bad girl archetype. These may never disappear, so Swift offers a more optimistic "solution" for future artists. "I just hope there will be contenders on both sides. Everyone needs someone to relate to." After this op-ed, Taylor Swift just became a bit more relatable to us. Good work, T-Swizzle. (WSJ)