As online streaming and piracy drive traditional album sales to near-record lows, it may be hard to look into the future of the music industry and not grimace. But leave it to Taylor Swift to always keep things positive.
In an op-ed published in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, Swift talks about why, despite all the numbers and statistics, she’ll always be an “enthusiastic optimist.” Not only does she refuse to think this ship will sink, she seems to see where it’s heading, and likes the look of it, boldly proclaiming, “the music industry is not dying… it’s just coming alive.”
You see, in her mind, she views slumping sales as a challenge to artists put their “heart and soul” to create albums that hit fans “like an arrow through the heart” and “allowed them to feel like they aren’t alone in feeling so alone.” In other words, music so damn good they can’t not buy their album.
“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). Some songs and albums represent seasons of our lives, like relationships that we hold dear in our memories but had their time and place in the past,” she wrote. “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.”
She also had a message for those country die-hards who have cried sellout: Not only is she not sorry, but she thinks that the genre-blurring aspect of popular music is exactly what makes it interesting.
“The wild, unpredictable fun in making music today is that anything goes. Pop sounds like hip hop; country sounds like rock; rock sounds like soul; and folk sounds like country—and to me, that’s incredible progress,” she wrote. “This moment in music is so exciting because the creative avenues an artist can explore are limitless. 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.”