Taylor Swift: Music Industry Needs 'Heart and Soul'... and Instagram

Pam WrightLife

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Taylor Swift seems to think she has a clear vision on the future of the music industry.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece penned by the 24-year-old singer/songwriter, Swift spins a positive view of of the industry in a time when most people predict "the downfall of music sales and the irrelevancy of the album as an economic entity." Swift, on the other hand, proclaims herself as "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."

Honestly, she may have something relevant to say. Swift earned almost $40 million in 2013 from a combination of albums sold, digital downloads, touring revenue, branding and sponsorships.

Swift concedes that "piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers ... drastically." But says people do still buy records.

And the key to getting those sales? Producing work that has "heart and soul," according to Swift.

"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," she writes. "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 does seem to have a handle on one necessary aspect of achieving and keeping celebrity status — social media. She shared her views on the power of a strong fan-base, which can be achieved with enough followers, especially on Instagram and Twitter. Currently the singer has 41.8 million Twitter and 9.7 million Instagram followers.

"There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven't been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento 'kids these days' want is a selfie. It's part of the new currency, which seems to be "how many followers you have on Instagram," she wrote.

"A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers," said Swift. "I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. For me, this dates back to 2005 when I walked into my first record-label meetings, explaining to them that I had been communicating directly with my fans on this new site called Myspace. In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around."

So Swift thinks she has a clear view of the music industry. What does she predict for herself?

"I'll just be sitting back and growing old, watching all of this happen or not happen, all the while trying to maintain a life rooted in this same optimism," the singer concludes. "And I'd also like a nice garden."

Image via YouTube

Pam Wright