Taylor Swift Says Music Should Not Be Free
Taylor Swift's writing skills extend far beyond penning chart-topping hits. The songstress recently wrote an eloquent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, sharing her thoughts on the changing music industry, and what she feels will keep the business vital and thriving for years to come.
"Before I tell you my thoughts on the matter, you should know that you're reading the opinion of an enthusiastic optimist: 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," Swift begins.
Swift goes on to acknowledge that "piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently," before encouraging artists to approach their craft with a different mindset.
"In recent years, you've probably read the articles about major recording artists who have decided to practically give their music away, for this promotion or that exclusive deal," she notes. "My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet…is that they all realize their worth and ask for it."
She adds, "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."
The 24-year-old, who continues to break attendance and sales records, also shares her own tools for maintaining her superstar status throughout her entire career.
"I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say 'shock'; I said 'surprise," she suggests.
"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. My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation's artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be."
Swift, who says she hasn't "been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera," says that there is a silver lining in all of the change.
"This moment in music is so exciting because the creative avenues an artist can explore are limitless. In this moment in music, stepping out of your comfort zone is rewarded, and sonic evolution is not only accepted…it is celebrated," she states. "The only real risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all."
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