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Taylor Swift has gone through such a transformation over the past few years!
The formerly country singer seemed to turn the sweet, wide-eyed girl next door image to some kind of rebel without a cause, fighting the haters and singing about shaking it off — before singing five more songs about it.
But with her latest struggle against her former record label and new masters owner Scooter Braun, it seems she’s come through the other side battleborn and ready to throw down in a righteous fight for artists’ rights.
a deep-dive interview about the music business with Billboard magazine, the once and future Bombalurina spilled all about her new fight.
Get to know the new Taylor Swift with all the highlights (below)!
Taylor used to engage more on social media, but she’s taken a big step back. Why?
“I’ve spent a lot of time recalibrating my life to make it feel manageable. Because there were some years there where I felt like I didn’t quite know what exactly to give people and what to hold back, what to share and what to protect. I think a lot of people go through that, especially in the last decade. I broke through pre-social media, and then there was this phase where social media felt fun and casual and quirky and safe. And then it got to the point where everyone has to evaluate their relationship with social media. So I decided that the best thing I have to offer people is my music. I’m not really here to influence their fashion or their social lives.That has bled through into the live part of what I do.”
Tumblr > Twitter
Taylor does still love her Tumblr:
“Tumblr is the last place on the internet where I feel like I can still make a joke because it feels small, like a neighborhood rather than an entire continent. We can kid around — they literally drag me. It’s fun. That’s a real comfort zone for me. And just like anything else, I need breaks from it sometimes. But when I do participate in that space, it’s always in a very inside-joke, friend vibe.”
Twitter, on the other hand…
“Sometimes, when I open Twitter, I get so overwhelmed that I just immediately close it. I haven’t had Twitter on my phone in a while because I don’t like to have too much news. Like, I follow politics, and that’s it. But I don’t like to follow who has broken up with who, or who wore an interesting pair of shoes. There’s only so much bandwidth my brain can really have.”
The Best Thing About TikTok
What does Tay think of the newest social media craze, Tik Tok videos?
“I only see them when they’re posted to Tumblr, but I love them! I think that they’re hilarious and amazing. Andrew (Lloyd Webber, creator of Cats) says that they’ve made musicals cool again, because there’s a huge musical facet to TikTok. [He’s] like, ‘Any way we can do that is good.’”
Country VS Pop
Taylor started out in country and moved to pop. The big difference? Going from a team sport to a zero sum game…
“I had so many mentors in country music. Faith Hill was wonderful. She would reach out to me and invite me over and take me on tour, and I knew that I could talk to her. Crossing over to pop is a completely different world. Country music is a real community, and in pop I didn’t see that community as much.”
Thankfully that is changing:
“Now there is a bit of one between the girls in pop — we all have each other’s numbers and text each other — but when I first started out in pop it was very much you versus you versus you. We didn’t have a network, which is weird because we can help each other through these moments when you just feel completely isolated.”
Who Are The Haters Anyway?
Are they social media bullies? Non-fans? Music critics writing think-pieces?
“It’s sort of an amalgamation of all of it. People who aren’t active fans of your music, who like one song but love to hear who has been canceled on Twitter. I’ve had several upheavals of somehow not being what I should be. And this happens to women in music way more than men. That’s why I get so many phone calls from new artists out of the blue — like, ‘Hey, I’m getting my first wave of bad press, I’m freaking out, can I talk to you?’ And the answer is always yes! I’m talking about more than 20 people who have randomly reached out to me. I take it as a compliment because it means that they see what has happened over the course of my career, over and over again.”
On Working Alone
“From a creative standpoint, I’ve been writing alone a lot more. I’m good with being alone, with thinking alone. When I come up with a marketing idea for the Lover tour, the album launch, the merch, I’ll go right to my management company that I’ve put together. I think a team is the best way to be managed. Just from my experience, I don’t think that this overarching, one-person-handles-my-career thing was ever going to work for me. Because that person ends up kind of being me who comes up with most of the ideas, and then I have an amazing team that facilitates those ideas.”
What’s Wrong With The Music Industry
“We have a long way to go. I think that we’re working off of an antiquated contractual system. We’re galloping toward a new industry but not thinking about recalibrating financial structures and compensation rates, taking care of producers and writers.
We need to think about how we handle master recordings, because this isn’t it. When I stood up and talked about this, I saw a lot of fans saying, ‘Wait, the creators of this work do not own their work, ever?’ I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it. I want to at least raise my hand and say, ‘This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal — not as a renegotiation ploy — and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy.’
God, I would have paid so much for them! Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me.“
She understands the artists getting started now can’t make this kind of noise about their contracts — so she’s doing it for them!
“New artists and producers and writers need work, and they need to be likable and get booked in sessions, and they can’t make noise — but if I can, then I’m going to. I know that it seems like I’m very loud about this, but it’s because someone has to be.”