Taylor Swift: ‘Music is art and should be paid for’

The singer says artists need to keep fans interested by surprising them

Taylor Swift has written an essay about the future of music, in which she says that albums should not be given away for free.

In the piece for the Wall Street Journal, the country-pop singer is optimistic about the future, and says that the success of recorded music now relies on artists finding the proper price point for their albums, and keeping fans interested by surprising them.

“In recent years, you’ve probably read the articles about major recording artists who have decided to practically give their music away, for this promotion or that exclusive deal,” she writes. “My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet… is that they all realise their worth and ask for it.”


She continues: “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.”

She then goes on to say that the difficulty in being able to shift large quantities of albums should actually push artists towards producing better quality work. “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 writes.

Elsewhere in the piece, Swift claims that while people are buying fewer records, they now focus on buying albums that “hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they aren’t alone in feeling so alone.”

Fans, she says, look at music like they see romantic relationships, with some just a “passing fling” while others are a lifelong love affair. Forming those bonds, she claims, “will come in the form of constantly providing [fans] with the element of surprise.”

“In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online. To continue to show them something they had never seen before, I brought out dozens of special guest performers to sing their hits with me… I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.”

Taylor Swift released her fourth album ‘Red’ in 2012.