It’s impossible to deny Taylor Swift’s impact on music. Not only is she one of the top-grossing pop stars, but her net worth is also out of this world, and her fans are extremely dedicated. But what’s even more amazing about Taylor Swift is the effect she’s had on the entertainment industry. Taylor has changed the game for musicians in all genres of music because she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she knows is right. In wake of her conflict with Scooter Braun, here are five ways Taylor Swift has rocked the music industry.
1. Taylor Swift v. Spotify
Back in November 2014, before the release of 1989, Taylor Swift pulled her entire library off Spotify. She did this in an attempt to encourage people to start valuing art again. Artists see very little revenue from Spotify’s streaming service. And the money that does come from Spotify is paid to the record labels, not the artists. Music shouldn’t be free, and Spotify created disinterest in CDs, which obviously impacted album sales. So Swift pulled her whole library. Swift’s record deal at the time with Universal Music Group and Republic Records was so important because it stipulated that a portion of Spotify’s earnings went to Taylor. And not just Taylor, but every artist whose music is on the streaming service. Taylor Swift’s vendetta against Spotify created a conversation about valuing art and the artist that more than just a few artists benefited from.
2. Taylor Swift v. Apple
Taylor Swift didn’t stop there. After criticizing Spotify, she went after another streaming service–Apple Music–which resulted in Apple changing their policy. Taylor Swift withheld 1989 from Apple Music because they offered customers a three-month trial period during which she wasn’t paid royalties. Taylor suggested that because customers received music for free for three months, she was essentially working for free. It wasn’t only Taylor that spoke out, but with her influence in the music industry, all the other artists who saw this as unfair were finally heard. Apple proceeded to change their policy, and now they pay artists during the trial period.
3. Taylor Swift v. The Crossover Artist
While many people use this as a point of contention against Swift, Taylor has paved the way for crossover artists. Taylor Swift began her career as a country artist, going as far as to convince her parents to move to Tennessee so she could be closer to Nashville. But with her album Red came a progression from just country to country, pop, and folk. She doesn’t stray completely from her country roots, however. She says she just wants to make music that reflects all of her influences. “I think,” wrote Taylor for The Wall Street Journal, “in the coming decades the idea of genres will become less of a career-defining path.” Because of her ability to successfully cross over from country to pop, Taylor has paved the way for other artists hoping to do the same.
4. Taylor Swift v. The Power Imbalance
Her current issue with Scooter Braun, however messy and convoluted it is, shines a light on a decade-old problem: widely standardized deals that keep artists from owning their work. This is an issue that impacts many artists, but it took Taylor Swift standing up for what she knew was right to bring attention to it. For example, Frank Ocean released (what could be argued is) his best record only months after his contractual deal ended, Rihanna quietly bought her masters back from her record company, and Jay-Z had to wait ten years before he could own his masters after signing on as Def Jam’s president. Taylor Swift taking a stand brought to light the power imbalance between artists, many (Swift included) of whom write their own lyrics and create their own sound, and the record companies to which they’re contractually stuck with.
5. Taylor Swift v. The Music Industry
Taylor Swift has rocked the music industry over and over again. But one way in which Taylor Swift has made an everlasting impact on the industry apart from her criticism of streaming services is her sincerity. Swift has a great relationship with other artists because she’s always encouraging and applauding them. During her tours for Speak Now, Red, and 1989, Taylor invited other artists to come out during her set and perform their own songs. Her sincerity includes her love for other artists and their own personal work. This is directly linked to her plea for Apple and Spotify to properly compensate artists; she wasn’t only doing it for herself and her own royalties, she did it for the little Indie artists that weren’t being heard themselves.