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The Future of Music According to Taylor Swift

by Photo of Astrid Hall

Taylor Swift gives her own interesting insight into the future of music through an op-ed.

The Future of Music According to Taylor Swift

In this article…

Just recently, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift, who proclaimed that the future of music is a love story. Well, judging from Swift's general musical style, anything and everything is a love story, but that isn't to say she didn't make some excellent points about the music industry.

Many believe that with the way technology is growing and rapidly changing, the music industry's outlook is grim. Social media and myriad services allow us to quickly stream and freely listen to music without having to make any physical purchase. 

When MySpace came along in 2003, artists had the perfect outlet to connect with fans and answer every suggestion and whim. However, with the internet as a cheap and relatively free music outlet there are suggestions that the music industry could collapse from a lack of revenue. File-sharing and illegal downloading also ate into the massive core product of sales.

Within her Op-Ed from the Wall Street Journal, Taylor Swift makes a very significant point. "The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships. Some music is just for fun, a passing fling (the ones they dance to at clubs and parties for a month while the song is a huge radio hit, that they will soon forget they ever danced to)."

Swift adds, "However, some artists will be like finding 'the one.' We will cherish every album they put out until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren. As an artist, this is the dream bond we hope to establish with our fans." 

Despite this 'dream bond', it can only really be applied to the more successful artists as they are the ones who are known and have built a major following over the years. Bringing home the bacon is a much harder task for those trying to establish themselves in an industry that no longer relies more purely on physical record sales. So where can the money be made?

Gigs, concerts, any kind of live performance is where the money mill starts churning out the dollars. In 2013, the top 50 world-wide tours generated a combined revenue of $3.83 billion, up 27.6% from 2012. However, it is understood that this increase is due to many artists playing more dates because of the decline in physical record sales, but this is all good for major artists. Taylor Swift in particular can't have any true fears of the music industry bailing on her having been the top tour of North America in 2012, grossing $112.7 million in domestic revenue.

It's all well and good for major artists, like Swift, who can get by on one major tour every three years or so, but what about the band next door who practices in the basement? That band isn't going to appear in the kinds of venues Swift can, and they probably can't afford to go on a tour to boot. 

Small, unlisted bands are having to pay out of their own pocket to make CDs, get noticed by small venues and overly promote themselves before they can even think about breaking even. Festivals and live music collaboration is essential to a growing artist and they are growing themselves.

Coachella proves just this after smashing their totaling attendance and gross ticket sales from last year. The total of attendees over the two weekends was 579,000, with a combined gross of $78,332,000, compared to last years $67.2 million.

If the government can keep finding ways to crack down on illegal downloads and file sharing then music industry has little to fear, but until then, musicians of all levels of success will have to remain focused on the option of live music performance. While Swift may have been sincere in her assessment of the music industry, 

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