Country star Taylor Swift has recently penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed regarding the current state of music industry, sharing quite an interesting insight.
Touching on the matter of piracy, Taylor stressed that music is art, and should therefore be cherished and paid for, noting that the music industry isn't dying in her eyes, but rather coming to life.
"Where will the music industry be in 20 years, 30 years, 50 years?" she kicked off. "Before I tell you my thoughts on the matter, you should know that you're reading the opinion of an enthusiastic optimist: one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying ... it's just coming alive.
"There are many (many) people who predict the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity," Swift continued. "I am not one of them. 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. Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently."
"My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet ... is that they all realize their worth and ask for it.
"Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art," the vocalist pointed out.
Saying that people still buy albums, Taylor went on to discuss the artists' impact on fans, dividing them to casual trends and lifetime passions, "the ones."
"Some artists will be like finding 'the one,'" she said. "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. I think the future still holds the possibility for this kind of bond, the one my father has with the Beach Boys and the one my mother has with Carly Simon."
Sharing thoughts on the future, Swift added, "I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say 'shock'; I said 'surprise.' I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can't this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?
"My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. 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," she continued.
Discussing some of the fan-related changes, the singer noted that "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. It's part of the new currency, which seems to be 'how many followers you have on Instagram.'"
After covering the power of social networks and the lack of genre distinction in today's music, Swift noted that "some things will never change."
"There will always be an increasing fixation on the private lives of musicians, especially the younger ones. Artists who were at their commercial peak in the '70s, '80s and '90s tell me, 'It was never this crazy for us back then!' And I suspect I'll be saying that same thing to younger artists someday (God help them)," she said.
"There continues to be a bad girl vs. good girl/clean-cut vs. sexy debate, and for as long as those labels exist, I just hope there will be contenders on both sides. Everyone needs someone to relate to. 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. And I'd also like a nice garden," the vocalist concluded.