Taylor Swift Shares Optimistic View of Music Industry in Op-Ed
Taylor Swift believes there’s still hope for the music industry.
In fact, she’s “one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying … it's just coming alive,” the superstar wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
In the approximately 1,100-word piece, published on July 7, Swift notes that piracy and file-sharing have indeed contributed to a decrease in physical music sales. She believes, however, that music is still valuable and should be paid for.
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. 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. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art,” she wrote.”
Swift acknowledges that music fans aren’t purchasing as many albums as they did in past years. But this shouldn’t discourage artists, she says. “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,” the singer wrote.
Swift feels that artists need to form a strong bond with their fans by regularly offering an “element of surprise.” This is especially important because of the “YouTube generation we live in,” which was “raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient,” she wrote, later noting that written autographs became extinct with the invention of the iPhone with the front-facing camera.
Swift offered an example of how to keep fans guessing.
“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,” she wrote. “We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe.”
She also made some predictions.
“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,” Swift wrote, referencing a 2005 label meeting where she told executives she had been communicating with fans on MySpace. “In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans — not the other way around.”
As previously reported, Swift ranked No. 1 on Billboard's annual Money Makers list, capturing revenue from every angle, earning a whopping $39,699,575.60. Fueled by 2012's Red, the singer's album sales were eighth among all of Billboard's Money Makers, while on the digital front she sold nearly 10 million downloads, ranking sixth, and fifth in streaming royalties -- tops in country music.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.