By Erika Norton | Echo
Dear Taylor Swift,
You may think this is just another hater hate hate hating on you, but I'm not. I'm really not. I'm simply confused.
My confusion has nothing to do with your music or your new album "1989." You've made the crossover from country to pop. You've changed your sound to a peppy '80s-synth meets electro-melancholy. We all change and reinvent ourselves from time to time. That's totally fine. (Plus, there are some seriously catchy tracks I'm not ashamed to say I jam to.)
My confusion isn't even with you taking your cat wherever you go. Nor with how you're the new welcome ambassador for New York City, a place you've lived less than a year. While I may find these things strange, it's your life. You do you.
I'm confused with you saying you're focused on your fans.
"Fans are my favorite thing in the world," you told the Orlando Sentinel in 2008. "I've never been the type of artist who has that line drawn between their friends and their fans."
But then you go and remove all of your songs, save one, from Spotify, a free music streaming service with over 40 million listeners. Before you dumped them, nearly 16 million of Spotify's users played your songs in the 30 days prior, and you're on over 19 million playlists, by Spotify's last count. Not to mention, you just released "1989" about two weeks ago, an album I'm sure you worked very hard on and want to share.
Why would you do this?
I read a quote of yours in the Wall Street Journal about music. You called it art and talked about how valuable art is, how valuable things should have a price tag and how music should be paid for.
I completely agree that music should not just be given away or forced upon you like junk mail (cough, cough, like U2). However, Spotify pays artists per stream. It may not be much, but let's be real, you're not some starving artist playing in little clubs and bars to make rent.
You were named by Billboard as the highest-paid musician in America, earning nearly $40 million in 2013. On top of that, "1989" sold 1.287 million copies in its first week, the largest sales week for an album since Eminem's "The Eminem Show" (which sold 1.322 million).
Your most recent tour grossed $150 million, $30 million of which you took home yourself in the first six months alone. Billboard also estimates concert-goers buy $17 worth of merchandise per ticket, bringing in an additional $10 million.
You live in a penthouse apartment in TriBeCa, and unlike most 24 year olds, you are not drowning in student debt.
Money and record sales aren't a problem. But selling records and making money aren't the only reasons to make music. You consider music an art, and art should be shared and accessible to those who want to listen to it.
Since money isn't an issue, why not share your music with 40 million more people? Yes, it's your music and you have the right to do what you want with it. But why spend money on Instagram campaigns and product placement (those Diet Coke posters at Subway) to hype an album that could reach so many more listeners?
Also, since you are the new welcome ambassador for New York City and have a song dedicated to your newfound home, why are there no New York shows scheduled for your marathon tour next year? You have 57 shows scheduled, but the closest you get to the Big Apple is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
You really confuse me sometimes, T-Swift. I can sympathize with Spotify's lyrical plea posted on its blog: "Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there's more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It's a love story, baby, just say yes."
Think about your fans. Just say yes.
A lover of music