The self-described “enthusiastic optimist” thinks artists put their blood, sweat and tears into their works and that they shouldn’t be shortchanged into giving it away for free.
“Music is art,” Swift wrote. “And art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”
Though the Grammy-winning songstress has sold over 26 million records worldwide, she seems concerned with the effect piracy is having on her industry.
“There are many (many) people who predict the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity,” Swift wrote. “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.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Taylor Swift original without mentions of flings and interpersonal romance.
“There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people’s lives forever. The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships,” Swift said, somehow finding a way to once again dispense relationship advice. “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.”
Despite her brief hookup-heavy respite, Swift’s WSJ essay is refreshing, articulate and a well-measured analysis of art and finance.
Swift’s next big artistic move is on the big screen, starring in “The Giver” — a critically-anticipated adaptation of Lois Lowry‘s thematically rich young adult novel.
“The Giver” hits theaters on Aug. 15.