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Taylor Swift Weighs In on the State of the Music Industry

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

By Philip Cosores

Country crossover megastar Taylor Swift is consistently proving to critics she is not to be placed in a box, so really an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal shouldn’t surprise us — nor should the subject, the hot-button issue of “the future of the music industry.”

Swift’s stance is relatively straight forward: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”

Swift points out that people are still buying albums, just less of them.

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“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,” she writes. This is where her stance gets kind of shaky. Is Now 50 hitting listeners like an arrow? The Frozen soundtrack? Now 49?

Furthermore, are people necessarily buying albums they know they will even like? Or are they grabbing an impulse CD in line at Target based on familiarity? It would seem at least a little more complicated than Swift’s Cupid metaphor.

Swift spends the rest of the article bouncing around, from finding new ways to stay fresh in light of YouTube to interacting with fans in new ways. Ultimately, Swift notes that she is optimistic — which, as one of the biggest music stars in the world, everyone should hope she is optimistic. Music industry problems aren’t really problems to those on the very top, and Swift seems to forget that not everyone is playing sold-out arenas and starring in movies. Still, it is refreshing to see her engage everything that fans and critics love discussing, and with some insight that is valuable.

Now, please hurry on the new album, Ms. Swift.

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