2019 American Music Awards

Taylor Swift Talks Changing Music Industry, Taking Control: I'm One of the Only People... Who Can Be Loud About It'

Taylor Swift opens up in a new interview about the rapidly-changing music industry, her role in it and how good it feels to be fully in control of her career. 

In a chat with Music Week, the superstar shared the reasoning behind her decision sign a deal with Universal Music Group through Republic Records last year, leaving behind her career-long home at Big Machine Label Group, through which she released her first six albums. Swift's new deal with Republic guaranteed the singer ownership of her future masters and saw Universal agree to her proposal that the label share its Spotify profits with its artists -- a groundbreaking shift in musician's rights that Swift said was key to her decision.

"That's important to me because that means they're adopting some of my ideas," she told Music Week. "If they take me on as an artist that means they really thought it through. Because with me, come opinions about how we can better our industry."

Seven albums into her career, Swift explained that her platform as one of the world's leading entertainers comes with the responsibility and power to advocate for artists and creators both large and small, particularly when it means standing up to streaming services, labels and other corporate interests.

"I'm one of the only people in the artist realm who can be loud about it," she said. "People who are on their fifth, sixth or seventh album, we're the only ones who can speak out, because new artists and producers and writers need to work. They need to be endearing and likeable and available to their labels and streaming services at all times. It's up to the artists who have been around for a second to say, 'Hey guys, the producers and the writers and the artists are the ones who are making music what it is.' And we're in a great place in music right now thanks to them."

During the interview, Swift also opened up about the positive changes that have come with her new record deal: a freedom she said she never found in her 13 years at Big Machine.

"In my previous situation, there were creative constraints, issues that we had over the years," she said cryptically. "I've always given 100 percent to projects; I always over-delivered, thinking that that generosity would be returned to me. But I ended up finding that generosity in a new situation with a new label that understands that I deserve to own what I make. 

"That meant so much to me because it was given over to me so freely," she continued. "When someone just looks at you and says, 'Yes, you deserve what you want' after a decade or more of being told, 'I'm not sure you deserve what you want,' -- there's a freedom that comes with that. It's like when people find 'the one,' they're like, 'It was easy, I just knew and I felt free.' And that made me feel I could make an album [2019's Lover] that was exactly what I wanted to make."

 

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.