Taylor Swift Accepts Woman of the Year Honor: 'Amazing Early Birthday Present'
Taylor Swift had a important message to get out when she recieved Billboard's Woman of the Year honor -- she's continuing her fight to find a new way forward with respect to the industry, selling albums and streaming her music.
"Being named Billboard Woman of the Year for a second time is this amazing early birthday present," Swift said in her opening remarks. "I turn 25 at midnight tonight, and I fully intend to to celebrate like it's 1989." After only polite audience laughter, she added, "I knew it was a bad joke when i wrote it, and I just did it anyway!"
"I've taken this year to stand up for my value as a songwriter, as a businesswoman and a content creator," she explained. "I'm very well aware the music industry is changing, and it will continue to change. I'm open to that change and progress. I'm not open to the financial model that is currently in place. I really believe that we in the music industry can work together to bond technology with integrity. And I think we can teach a younger generation about an investment in music, not just the ephemeral consumption of it. I think that there has to be a way for streaming or any future way we access music to fairly compensate the writers.
"Events like this where we have the most powerful people in music all gathered in one room, events like this give me hope that the right conversations will start to take place, and I invite you all to join in the conversation," Swift continued. "The greatest moment of the year for me was when my fans went out and proved that if you provide them with a bold statement and pour your life into an album, they'll buy it."
"I want to thank Billboard for deciding to make me Woman of the Year for the second time...I really just feel like we need to continue to try and offer something to a younger generation of musicians. Because somewhere right now your future Woman of the Year is probably sitting in a piano lesson or in a girls choir. Today, right now, we need to take care of her. Thank you."
Prior to Swift's speech, Ingrid Michaelson performed Swift's 1989 track "Clean," and Swift fan Gena Camerlengo (who Swift superfans will recognize as the woman whose bridal shower Swift memorably attended) introduced her. "I've been fortunate to share in her transformation," Camerlengo said. "Her ability to write and perform is incredible, but it's her impact beyond music where she really shines...I found Taylor because of her music, but i stayed because of her character."