Self-professed optimist Taylor Swift penned an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal in which she says that despite many naysayers, she is "one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying… it's just coming alive." Among a number of topics, Swift takes on faltering music sales by saying that artists need to form a stronger bond with their fans.
"I'd like to point out that people are still buying albums, but now they're buying just a few of them. They are buying only the ones that hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they really aren't alone in feeling so alone," Swift wrote in her piece. "It isn't as easy today as it was 20 years ago to have a multiplatinum-selling album, and as artists, that should challenge and motivate us."
She goes on to liken music to romantic relationships. "Some music is just for fun, a passing fling... 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," Swift explained. "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. I think the future still holds the possibility for this kind of bond."
The singer/songwriter also believes that music should not be given away for free, and that record labels and artists should not undervalue the art of music.
"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," Swift wrote. "Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently... Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."