Richard Thompson on Taylor Swift and Beyoncé: “It isn’t really about the music – it’s about promoting the brand”

The Fairport Convention co-founder isn't a fan of "odd" celebrity culture

Richard Thompson has said that Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are “brands”, arguing that their successful careers aren’t “about the music”.

The 70-year-old Fairport Convention musician recently featured in an interview with The Independent, in which he took aim at the attitudes within pop and “modern celebrity culture”.

Discussing the issues of fame, Thompson said: “I am glad I am not a star or anything, because it must be absolute hell when you can’t go to the supermarket or walk down the street. I like being fairly anonymous.”


He went on to say that “modern celebrity culture is just odd”, before airing his views on the pop music industry specifically.

“You look at artists like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift and they really are brands,” he said. “It isn’t really about the music; it’s about promoting the brand. I find it very hard to take that music seriously, because it is so calculated and so engineered to public acceptance.

Beyonce performs live

“For me, it is hard to find the emotional core of the music, it just eludes me. It comes down to what you want. Who do you want to be? Do you want to be a brand and have your own clothing line? Live behind a gated wall? Have your whole life become a reality show? Or do you want a smaller audience and do something more interesting?”

Thompson recently announced a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, which is set to take place in September. The songwriter promised that the evening would welcome “many guests covering 50 years plus of music”.


Meanwhile, Taylor Swift recently sparked speculation among fans as she appeared to tease her next era.

Some Twitter users thought that the star’s butterfly shoes foreshadowed the aesthetic of her ‘Reputation’ follow-up.


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