Taylor Swift: singer-songwriter, winner of all the awards, serial dater, and now, Wall Street Journal guest columnist. Swift offers up her opinion on the state of the music industry in the Journal, noting that though "many (many) people ... predict the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity," people are still buying albums—but they only buy "the ones that hit them like an arrow through the heart." That means it's harder nowadays to put out a multiplatinum album, but artists should feel challenged and motivated by that, she writes. Instead of practically giving their music away ("Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable."), artists should focus on keeping their fans engaged.
How? Well, Swift notes that since most of her fans can watch her concerts on YouTube before actually attending a show, she brings out "dozens of special guest performers" to keep things fresh; she also recommends mixing genres and trying new things because nowadays, "anything goes." Kids these days "want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe," she writes. Her other piece of advice: Engage with your fans on social media. "In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around." Predictably, many bloggers have responded to Swift's op-ed:
- "At least one person in the music industry made $64 million last year," writes Caity Weaver on Gawker. "It's important to be an optimist and have a good attitude."
- Indeed, writes Lindsey Weber on Vulture, Swift's main point seems to be that people are still buying albums ... "Albums like hers, you see."
- "Of course, Taylor Swift is 'enthusiastic'" about the music biz, writes Esther Zuckerman on The Wire. "You've seen her 'surprise face,' right?"
- "The piece lets loose a spectacular string of metaphors, similes, and analogies comparing music to affairs of the heart," writes Jordan Weissmann on Slate. "Which is to say, it’s exactly what you’d want from a Taylor Swift op-ed in America’s most prestigious business newspaper."