Culture

Taylor Swift offers opinion on digital music, social-media and music’s future

Having spent the majority of her young-life behind a microphone, on television, and on the radio; Taylor Swift is one of the few lucky individuals to have reached the top of the pop-music charts, and has the talent and appeal to stay there.
 
She’s one of the best-selling artists of all-time, she’s was crowned the most charitable celebrity of 2013, and she only just now started to branch-out into television and films. Taylor Swift is dominating pop-culture everyday, and even if you don’t prefer her music, there’s little not-to-like about this young woman.
 
Swift is offering her insight to the Wall Street Journal, there’s no catchy-hook or soothing chorus, just an industry professional spilling her ideas onto one of the most popular publications we still have in America.
 
Swift may not have the same credentials as your typical WSJ columnist, but her seven-Grammy awards and sold-out international tours speak for themselves. At just 24-years-old Swift may not have had the luxury of experiencing a lengthy amount of time observing the rise and fall of trends and business-models in the music-industry, but she’s exactly the same age as the population of music-listeners that will change music forever…again.
 
Every generation leaves their own mark on music, from the invention to recordable tapes and the use of the Walkman, to Napster and Spotify and the birth of iTunes Store, nothing stays the same except the artists that play for the fans that love them.
 
The op-ed bounces from personal experiences to musical-theory and predictions at parts, but there are small chunks of great ideas and philosophies (whether you agree with them or not) that are worth reading.
 
YouTube is this generation’s Mtv, it makes artists and destroys others and Swift left her own thoughts on the streaming service stating, “In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online. To continue to show them something they had never seen before, I brought out dozens of special guest performers to sing their hits with me.”
 
YouTube isn’t the only service dominating old-business’ decisions. Swift told a personal story involving Twitter as well:
 
“A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers. I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. … In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans — not the other way around.”
 
Probably the most “Swifty” moment, came when she talked about albums themselves. “In mentioning album sales, I’d like to point out that people are still buying albums, but now they’re buying just a few of them. They are buying only the ones that hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they really aren’t alone in feeling so alone.”
 
Swift has been a champion of music’s power to heal, comfort, express and connect since she started with her first tour, a message that she still sticks to today. “It isn’t as easy today as it was 20 years ago to have a multiplatinum-selling album, and as artists, that should challenge and motivate us.”
 
If you haven’t read the article, it’s here, and you should, like her or not. Just as the first VJs, grunge-acts and acoustic-sessions changed during my time, a new, more social music-scene is coming to a head today. If you’re older than Taylor (or much older in my case) it can be easy to forget how different musical-acts have to behave with a 24hr connection to their fans, and what is changing so rapidly in the industry. There is probably a 45-year-old music professor that you can lecture you for 45 minutes about everything Swift comments on, but there is something worth hearing coming from one of the best-selling acts around.