In a viral op-ed from Taylor Swift on the future of the music industry in The Wall Street Journal published on Monday, the Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter said the music industry is "just coming alive."
Here are five takeaways:
1. Artists must realize their worth. The value of an album is based on artistic effort and self-imposed financial value, and Swift said that musicians must promote their work as something rare and valuable.
2. Declining album sales doesn't mean that everyone will shift to online streaming. Swift said that people are only buying the ones "that hit them like an arrow through the heart," which means that as physical albums grow more rare, they become more precious. "As artists, that should challenge and motivate us," she said.
3. Artists need to establish long-lasting relationships with their audiences by maintaining an element of surprise. To create the "dream bond" that will motivate fans to buy every album or attend every concert, artists need to find "inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes," Swift said. "We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe."
4. Social media is changing the ways musicians define themselves. "In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around," Swift said. The demise of the autograph and the rise of the celebrity selfie point to the importance of Twitter and Instagram followers, she said. Going virtual has also made genre distinctions more of an organizational tool than something artists must fit their career into. Go out and do something different, Swift said. "The only risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all."
5. The one thing that won't change is that private lives matter, Swift said. Whether a bad girl or a good girl, she said, the artist will need to be someone that fans can relate to on a personal level.
Read the full op-ed here.