In between throwing parties for her famous friends and showing off her perfectly polished street style looks, Taylor Swift penned an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, in which she argues that the music business is not dying, but “just coming alive.” The star, who is known for honesty (and tackling real-life topics) in her song lyrics, poetically muses on the future of music as being a love story—a theme found throughout the singer’s own work.
“There are many (many) people who predict the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity. I am not one of them,” Swift writes. “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace.” She praises the current state of music as an environment for taking creative risks and blurring the lines between genres.
Swift’s column (which is titled “For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story”) works to convince us that despite the challenges of pirating, digital downloads, online streaming, and declining album sales, music isn’t a lost cause. Why? Her reasoning is that strong emotional ties between artists and fans will keep the craft alive. “I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise,” she says. “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.”
The singer goes on to discuss the way the music industry has changed, even in the past few years. “There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento ‘kids these days’ want is a selfie,” Swift writes. Social media, she notes, is a powerful currency for artists and will lead to their success. Furthermore, she predicts that some things, like the fascination with celebrity, will never change.
In the end, she remains positive about the future of music, content with her place in the business. “And as for me? I’ll just be sitting back and growing old, watching all of this happen or not happen, all the while trying to maintain a life rooted in this same optimism,” Swift finishes. “And I’d also like a nice garden.”
Check out Taylor Swift’s full essay on wsj.com.
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