Taylor Swift performs at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 9 in Singapore.
Sing it with us: It feels like the perfect night to ... read a Taylor Swift column in The Wall Street Journal? Instead of singing her feelings about the music industry, the seven-time Grammy winner unraveled her thoughts in a neatly packaged WSJ column on Monday.
Swift, a 24-year-old musical powerhouse on the charts and on social media, pondered the value of music in the age of streaming, downloads, YouTube, smartphones and selfies.
Here are a three notable takeaways from Swift's column, which you can read in full, here:
- On the importance of social media for unsigned artists: "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. ... In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans — not the other way around."
- On how YouTube influenced what she does in concert: "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."
- On autographs being replaced by selfies: "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.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. It's part of the new currency, which seems to be 'how [many] followers you have on Instagram.'"
Swift's essay comes at a time when technology, social networks and online services have changed the way fans consume music, artists release music, and long-standing establishments assess and rank songs and albums.
In the past few years, Billboard has started incorporating YouTube views, download sales and streaming data — while still accounting for physical sales and radio airplay — to determine chart rankings.
And let's not forget last year when Jay Z gave away 1 million copies of his album to Samsung Galaxy owners through an app, influencing the Recording Industry Association of America to modernize its 55-year-old certification process to immediately include digital sales. Not to be outdone, Beyonce dropped an album and a video for each song solely on iTunes without any advance promotional marketing. It sold 1 million copies in days.
Most recently, Billboard in May launched real-time charts to rank trending songs from popular and emerging artists based on how often they are mentioned in tweets.
A self-proclaimed "enthusiastic optimist," Swift went on to discuss how artists shouldn't be afraid of the changing landscape.
"This moment in music is so exciting because the creative avenues an artist can explore are limitless," Swift wrote. "In this moment in music, stepping out of your comfort zone is rewarded, and sonic evolution is not only accepted ... it is celebrated. The only real risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all."
Tags: BILLBOARD, DIGITAL DOWNLOADS, ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC, STREAMING MUSIC, TAYLOR SWIFT