Taylor Swift On Why She Pulled Her Music From Spotify, Going Platinum & More
It has been quite a crazy few weeks for Taylor Swift. Not only has she shattered sales records for her latest album 1989, but fans freaked out a little when the musician pulled her music off Spotify.
The 24-year-old is currently in Asia promoting her album but took some time to chat with Yahoo! Music about a lot of great stuff. Check out some highlights.
YAHOO MUSIC: This album had the highest first-week sales since 2002. Then there is also the fact that you’re the first artist to have a million-selling week three times in a row. And then there’s also just the idea of this being a personal best, just for you. Do any of these ways of looking at the initial success of the album mean more to you than others?
TAYLOR SWIFT: Well, my huge dream in this whole thing, which I was told many times was an unrealistic… I was told many times to keep my expectations in check, so I did. But the ultimate dream was, “Can we ring that bell? Can we get a million; can we do this for the third time?” Because we were all very well aware that if we sold a million records this time, it would be the only time in history that someone had done that three times. That was the most insane thing, when we got the first hint that we might end up actually getting to do it. And then my second biggest hope was, “Hey, wouldn’t it be insane if we topped what we did with Red?” And then the fans ended up making that happen, so it’s been just kind of like a dream scenario all the way around. And I just feel so lucky that people seem to understand what I was doing with this album and loved the new direction of it.
We’ve played the game of wondering whether you would have sold hundreds of thousands of fewer copies last week if the album had been available to people for free via those services. To a lot of people, you’re a hero for reinforcing that music still has a value. And then there are some people who think you’re standing in the way of progress by not giving in to the streaming model. What are your thoughts on all that?
If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free. I wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this summer that basically portrayed my views on this. I try to stay really open-minded about things, because I do think it’s important to be a part of progress. But I think it’s really still up for debate whether this is actual progress, or whether this is taking the word “music” out of the music industry. Also, a lot of people were suggesting to me that I try putting new music on Spotify with “Shake It Off,” and so I was open-minded about it. I thought, “I will try this; I’ll see how it feels.” It didn’t feel right to me. I felt like I was saying to my fans, “If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it’s theirs now and they don’t have to pay for it.” I didn’t like the perception that it was putting forth. And so I decided to change the way I was doing things.
Is the second single official? There was word it’s “Blank Space.”
Yeah, “Blank Space.” The fans tend to decide the singles relatively quickly for us. We don’t even need to do much as far as A&R work, because they are very vocal about their favorites. In my mind, I have a very clear picture about singles one, two, three. I’m up in the air about four, but I think that it will present itself just like all the other ones have. It’s really exciting to see people have so many favorites and be very, very clear about which ones they think should be singles.
“Blank Space” is a particularly provocative choice for a single, because you were already wondering whether people would get that song or not as just an album track. It’s such a different kind of lyric for you to put out there. Don’t you worry some people will think, “Wait? Is that really her?”
It’s interesting when you put out a song with sort of a comedic element to it. People with different senses of humor perceive it differently. You’ll have people who completely get the joke and they’re saying, “Oh, look, she’s completely taken back the narrative, and she’s singing from the perspective of the person the media paints her to be.” And then other people will be listening to it on the radio and thinking, “I knew it! I knew she was crazy!” Just the way this has all kind of shaken out, I did not expect for “Blank Space” to be the favorite. And it is the absolute favorite. It’s No. 1 on iTunes right now, which is absolutely insane, and “Shake It Off” is No. 2.
It’s just so cool to see people like that, because it was sort of a risk for me to even take it into the studio and play this idea for Max Martin and Shellback and say, “Hey, I want to write this completely satirical song about the fictionalization of my personal life, and just kind of poke fun at it.” The fact that it ended up being a sort of shining spot on the album is really exciting for me. Because I think it’s gonna be really interesting when people see things we have up our sleeve, like the video and other things that I’m really excited about people discovering. It’s probably the wildest video I’ve done.
Read the full article here. Don’t forget that Taylor will perform “Blank Space” at the AMAs later this month.