So, How DID Taylor Swift Ever Land a Career as a Singer, When, Well… Ouch

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COLUMN: Well, grab some milk and cookies and your most comfy feetie pajamas — it’s story time with Auntie Danielle. Once upon a time, in the early 2000’s, the record companies were starting to feel the leak of what would eventually CRACK them in two and bankrupt them, financially, in 2004 — the mp3. For the first time ever — someone was stealing from THEM! Karma. She’s a beotch, I hear.

In an attempt to stop the revenue leak in 1997 that Napster, mp3.com, and many other vendors were “causing” (note — at any time, the industry could have jumped on the bandwagon and sold their mp3’s like iTunes, but the industry was in a lot of blustery denial back then), the recording industry decided to “cut costs”. That means “cut out any money not going directly to the label, like, cut the artists revenue” in laymen’s terms.

Artists are an expense to a major label, and the label very often forgets that the “expense” is the same thing that is drawing revenue. To the major label, artists are like pets — they cost money. You have to PAY them, things like PUBLISHING royalties on the music they write, and MECHANICAL royalties, and PRODUCT royalties. You have to pay them when they play concerts. For bands, you have to house and feed them ALL, on tour. I mean, what was a poor, antiquated, almost dinosauric music industry to do, to stop the revenue leak from their business model that was established in 1920 and had never been altered??

It was during this time that Britney Spears was manufactured. She was 100% their creation, their commodity. They wrote all her music, they produced all her music, so kept the publishing royalties. They pre-produced her with zillions of keyboard tracks in the studio using on-salary studio guys, so there were no mechanical royalties to pay out on the recording. They owned her images, her name, and well — her. The only musicians they paid were the ones that toured with her, the few that did as most of her concert was run off of recorded tracks — ADATS, in fact — synched up so Britney could dance her buns off and still “sing”, while lip-synching her whole show with a perfectly flat tummy.

And guess what these labels found out?

They found out that gamillions of people would STILL buy the music, STILL buy the swag, STILL pack the concert venues — and the label got to keep 9/10th of the cash (The other 10th went to Spear’s manager), because no one but them was involved in the publishing, mechanicals, and product! And best yet — there was only ONE — count it: O-N-E artist to deal with.

It didn’t matter that there were no more screaming guitar leads. It didn’t matter that she didn’t sing her own stuff live, and that it came off of ADAT tapes. It didn’t matter that her pitch was predominantly corrected by a brand new technology in the studio called “The Pitch Corrector”, because no one heard her sing live anyway. None of it mattered, because the floor show was incredible, with tons of backing dancers, laser lights that would make Led Zepplin drool —

— and she was hot.

So.

Was the industry gonna go back to signing bands that, you know, weren’t 16 year old hot chicks, who didn’t have the “naughty schoolgirl” marketing fantasy instantly built in, and wrote for themselves and demanded ROYALITES? Um — no. The cash cow in this realm was way, way, way, waaaaaay too lucrative.

So the “Britney Phenom” reigned, whether it was her, or a pre-produced hip hop in-studio guy singing groups who were gorgeous with washboard abs, for the last 10 years in music. Low overheard, high marketing value = TONS of income for the label.

The only problem was… the demographic that bought Britney grew up over a seven year period and didn’t want to hear “Whoops! I did it again!” over and over again. And the generation BEHIND the former Britney demographic was listening to their parents’ music — AC/DC, The Cure, Tears for Fears, Queen, Warrant.

Suddenly, there was a huge marketing hole in the industry. What to do, what to do? The industry was SO used to manufacturing their own talent that when it came time to REALLY crank some out — they had no idea what to do, because you can’t get a screaming Freddie Mercury from a keyboard.

Uh oh.

So, the industry, which sat back on its laurels and had the motivation of a bloated slug at this point in the mp3’s scare, did what it does best — it stole talent. Where you may ask? Well, where else? From TV land, where American Idol dropped the musical bar another ten rungs and made karaoke and cruise-ship hand gestures the new “Fame”.

I mean, it’s not like the industry was going to go out and scout in CLUBS for bands! Puh-LEEZ!! That was SO 1990’s! Why pay the A&R rep, pay the development team, and pay a publicist — when ALL these people, hundreds and thousands of them actually, across the USA — were all auditioning to be famous? Why go to them, when they would kill themselves to come to you?

The music industry also realized what the sales industry has known for decades, that consumers bought PEOPLE, before they bought PRODUCT. Brand a person, and you’ve branded ANYTHING they do. Thanks to a completely decrepit TV format known as “reality TV”, which is not real at all but was developed to be able to skirt union pay scales for actors and crew — the music industry witnessed America falling in love with people’s own DRAMA.

Cha-CHING, went the cash registers in the labels’ minds. Television was the new Sunset Strip, the new Whiskey A Go-Go — the new “breaking point” for “Musicians” — well, or for cute people who know how to cover Journey in karaoke, and that’s all the labels needed at this point, was a warm body. AND — personal drama.

So suddenly, poor old Britney is on the cover of every tabloid, drunk, or dead, or bipolar; sure, her musical time had come and gone, but the labels were grooming her for her big “come back”. They had to protect that investment somehow. Plus, America loves an underdog, and sure enough, nearly ten years later, Britney was showered in MTV awards to a standing ovation. Marketing works.

In the meantime, America was used to hearing off-pitch newbies croon out “I’m All Out Of Love” on American Idol, so the “talent litmus” fell even FURTHER. Who needed the pitch corrector and who needed to lip synch?? America was EATING UP the sharps and the flats of these vocally challenged kids. Why? Because, darn it, they were TRYING HARD, that’s why.

The bloated, unmotivated, visionless major labels pull out a pen and make note in their handbook right under the heading of “Hot chicks can sell anything” — and wrote “Hot chicks don’t even have to sing. America Loves a Hot Underdog.”

Thus — Taylor Swift. Who strums a guitar and “writes” her own material (mostly, until it’s completely re-worked by her production team, but I think they, like, let her keep an occasional “G” chord in there somewhere), groomed and pitch corrected in the studio so she’s terrible live but no one cares because darn it, she’s ONLY a kid, postured perfectly as a Martyr thanks to Kanye West’s “impromptu” Grammy stunt two years ago which was most likely something he was paid to do, giving him the “bad boy” nudge that he needed for his album sales and she being the “victimized country girl” (typical “reality TV” scripting) , Taylor was suddenly poised as the “Golly Garsh Darn” underdog and handed a bazillion Grammy’s so America, who the major labels are still convinced is as dumb as a box of hair, would believe that the off-pitch, off-time, off-EVERYTHING — is what they should be buying.

Why would they do this?

Because it saves the labels millions and millions of dollars on their end, people. Think about it. If you get the listening public training their ears on Freddie Mercury or an Eddie Van Halen or Stevie Ray Vaughn or an Alanis Morisette — you have to actually FIND, and PAY, and WORK WITH — that kind of extraordinary talent. You have to meet them in the middle, or sometimes, put up with their demands. They are not replaceable. The label is not in control of the commodity that way.

And now that the labels understand what it is to own absolutely everything, and have to do almost no work at all to earn the money they do off the “new talent” they are presenting — well — you’d have to believe that a bear won’t crap in the woods to believe that the major label industry will ever go back to relinquishing that much control. The music BUSINESS is 96% Business – and 4% MUSIC.

Now, the moral of the story is that IT IS SO VERY IMPORTANT TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT LABELS that get behind their artists for BEING musical artists, like the label I am signed to, for instance — MAURICE THE FISH RECORDS!! Every artist on this label plays, sings, and writes their own material. Every artist has a hand in producing their own material. And it’s all GREAT. And not one person affiliated with this label thinks that America is as dumb as a box of hair. We know that the listening public LISTENS to music. And the music we make is for THAT public.

As a post-script, let it be known that no one faults Taylor Swift as a person for this debacle — she seems like a sweet gal who is giving it her all, and heck, what kid wouldn’t want to be tossed a bunch of Grammy’s while still learning to sing? It’s just a shame that the Grammy’s are now being awarded while an artist is still on a basic learning curve.

If this is the way awards are rolling, then perhaps there is hope of me winning a Nobel Peace Prize for my work in Theoretical Physics? I mean, I have a theory or two written down on a napkin somewhere around here that I could submit…. hold on, I’ll find it….

Learn more about Danielle Egnew at www.DanielleEgnew.com .

Editorial Note: the above article by Ms. Egnew does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication. Further, it has not been edited or corrected in any way in order to maintain her “voice” for this article.

About Danielle Egnew

Named one of the "Top Female Producers in Music" (Music Connection Magazine) and included as one of the "Ten Most Powerful Women in Music" (Curve Magazine), multi-award-winning Musician / Writer / Producer Danielle Egnew burst onto the scene fronting and producing all-female sensation Pope Jane and has produced and released a total of 15 albums in five genres. A Montana native, she has written for many artists including Chris Ledoux. Danielle is also an accomplished filmmaker, composer, and actress, and her diverse career has been the subject of several magazine cover stories and books by Billboard Publishing. In addition, she is recognized internationally as a Clairvoyant whose successful work with law enforcement on cold cases has lead to on-camera media work as a Psychic, as well as creative consulting on hit paranormal TV programs. Currently Danielle resides in Los Angeles, where in between tours and film schedules she is an air personality on LA Talk Radio. She is signed to Maurice the Fish Records (Seattle / Los Angeles). More at: DanielleEgnew.com .

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34 Responses to So, How DID Taylor Swift Ever Land a Career as a Singer, When, Well… Ouch

  1. Nathan Porter Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 18:01:39 -0400 EDT #

    Well said!!

    it’s a shame most people don’t see it the way you and i do.

    nathan

  2. Kelly Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 18:24:47 -0400 EDT #

    Wow jealous and bitter much? I’ve been to one of her concerts and I can tell u that she can sing. Read the reviews by critics of the concerts yourself. She has a thin voice but who cares. Her songs fit her voice fine. No one wants to jog to Susan Boyle.

  3. Olive Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 19:50:48 -0400 EDT #

    Get a Life. Taylor can sing, yes she has a thin voice but I rather hear her sing live than some vocalists wailing. Haters should leave taylor alone. Taylor is the total package (sings, plays guiter/piano, and writes her songs). How many singers can boost of writing their own songs??? HATERS GET A LIFE

  4. steve Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 20:02:55 -0400 EDT #

    Yeah, total BS on the writers part, I’ve been to several of her concerts, and yes she does rock…..a really fun time. Her writing is great, what?, Can you say you don’t like ‘Our Song’. And what about the production side in the studio? Her co-producer was making demo’s from out of a shack when she met him…her record label? They started with nothing when she first started up with them…hardly big business, sat on the floor with no furniture doing what’s needed done to try an make a name for your artist (the song ‘Change’ is exactly about that time period’)….YOU are what is wrong with the music industry….YOU Danielle Egnew are part of the problem!! Do some, at least, basic research, you’ll find that nothing has been given to her. Also, she was selling out Arena’s before the Kanya crap…she was the top selling artist in 2008, a year before that moron…and yes also 2009…all from a small Indy label with what??? 5 or so artist signed to them….get real!!!!

  5. 14695 Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 20:08:48 -0400 EDT #

    hmmmm… self-serving; but opinionated…. ms. egnew writes as a frustrated wannabe who’s been at it longer and received much less success and recognition for her efforts. the truth is that people aren’t as “stupid as a box of hair” when it comes to what they want; and no amount of self-righteous self-promotion can overcome it. however, as a parasitic attempt to leverage others’ popularity, broadcasting vitriol about a popular celebrity is a time-honoured tactic.

    technically, ms. egnew’s assertions are mistaken; factually, she is challenged; and thematically, she is biased. also, i would submit that ms. egnew is a bit too late to jump on this bandwagon.

    as a “clairvoyant” who espouses “getting along,” ms. egnew surely understands that the first step towards understanding is acceptance?

  6. roadtrip Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 21:10:37 -0400 EDT #

    You people are seriously jealous. I have also been to Taylor Swift’s concerts and she was amazing. Her voice was clear and very in tune. You people need to get over yourselves. Maybe you are jealous because you are just ugly and who would ever listen to you. I think you need to get a better attitude.

  7. Ad Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 23:39:50 -0400 EDT #

    While this article did make several valid and good points, overall it was presented in a manner that reeks of jealousy and bitterness. Too bad.

  8. AB Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 00:46:36 -0400 EDT #

    You do realize that you didn’t use probably punctuation and grammar, right? That makes you sound kind of…high school-y. Unless you are. In which case…Um. Hi.

    The incident with Kanye? Yeah, that was at the VMA’s. Not the Grammys, smart one.

  9. Rose Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 01:01:02 -0400 EDT #

    i have also seen Taylor in concert and she isn’t that good, I mean she isn’t bad or anything but i see where your coming from and it must be really annoying that she keeps winning all these awards when you clearly have more talent then her. I would vote for you =)

  10. Danielle Egnew Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 02:26:41 -0400 EDT #

    - response from the author of the article -

    LOL, um… guys? Such passion in these posts, and all over an article that’s not actually about Taylor Swift! (Taylor’s name was used four times in 1736 words, the last time to mention what a great person she is.) However I’m sure that she’d appreciate knowing what loyal fans she has! The rest of the 1732 words in the article are about the business modality of major labels vs. smaller labels, and what goes into their mentality over the past ten years. What many of you are so emotionally responding to is an American writing style called “tongue-in-cheek” (see “Tom Robbins”, “Mark Twain”, etc.) so alas, as boring as it is, I’m sorry to report that I’m neither bitter nor jaded, jealous, nor a hater. Taylor’s street team can stand down. (<– That is a working example of “tongue-in-cheek”. <– So is this.) Yet it’s fascinating to see what readers focus on, and take away from a piece. Which successfully demonstrates the entire point of the article — Marketing 101: Perception is Everything.

  11. Louise Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 02:44:37 -0400 EDT #

    This article is driven by jealously and bitterness
    Its actualy quite sad, really.

  12. regis Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 05:17:15 -0400 EDT #

    I find it hilarious that folks continue to rag on Taylor Swift. Look, don’t try too hard to figure it out – and no need to say ugly things. She obviously knows something you don’t, or you wouldn’t be writing ignorant articles like this.

  13. Lucille Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 05:29:17 -0400 EDT #

    I honestly don’t get why people think she only recieved her grammys because of “pity votes” for the Kanye West stint. She may not be able to sing on key, but she writes her own songs and gets her emotions across. Her performace on the grammys was in fact awful, but it was because she was trying to match Stevie Nicks vocally. In her own way she is like Bob Dylan. He never sang on key, but the emotions in his voice were beautiful.

  14. Charlie Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 06:04:31 -0400 EDT #

    First of all, the Kanye incident occured at the 2009 MTV VMAs. Just wanted to point that out. So your facts are obviously wrong. Second, you are clearly biased, and looking at the music industry in a bitter way; 15 albums and no fame, that has got to sting. Especially since Miss. Swift only has 2 out and is a rock-star, country style. It is my sincere hope that you stop openily bashing Miss Swift. And even Miss Spears, even though I don’t like her. You, in this article, come off as a jealous wannabe.

  15. rosemary Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 09:53:24 -0400 EDT #

    I am an old punk rocker, lived in San Fran for ten years and loved good guitar and punk bands, PIL, Green On Red, etc and I also likesd Madonna and Abba. Tthis is the point,you don’t have to like one or the other you can like both, I like radiohead, muse and britney and Lady GaGa, you cannot say that lady Gaga doesn’t have any singing aor songwriting talent, you cannot say she is the puppet of her label, she calls the shots and she is the visionary, also Britney is the brains behind all of her videos whcich were the first of their kind in the late 90’s and she can dance. And there are sonwriters like U2 and james Morrison who are not manufactured or controlled. I suggest that you own band did not make it because you were not liked by enough people. Take Lily Allen she became famous and a No 1 selling artist through the strenghth of her own songs on her Myspace page, and THEN she got a record deal, word of mouth and no studio involvemen, WHATSOEVER> Think about it, eh? I am an older wiser person who loves all things beautiful.

  16. jake Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 10:36:14 -0400 EDT #

    Ahhhhhh!Big words!Big words!

  17. jagger Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 11:09:06 -0400 EDT #

    Hey, why base your article on facts when you can spread libelous slander based on your own prejudice?

    Did you know that Swift worked as a songwriter (youngest ever hired by Sony) for Sony (not the company she’s with now) two years before ever having released anything as an artist? Did you know that she’s got sole credits on the majority of her songs and that those credits actually mean something? Have you watched the studio vidoes where she plays a song for the producers for the first time and that the song ends up exactly the same on the finished album? Have you heard home recordings of hers from before she was signed, home recordings of shongs that ended up on the album? It’s a proven fact that she writes her own songs and when she’s got sole credits it means no one else has written anything but instrument parts for it.

    Being opinionated is fine, but don’t spread lies. Please.

  18. ed Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 19:59:26 -0400 EDT #

    kind of an interesting article in a ridiculously over the top cynical sort of way, but some valid points nonetheless were made.
    I have read lots of articles just like this recently, and the one thing they all have in common is that they all act like the music industry just started “creating” artists in the last 10 years.
    uhhhh HELLO!!
    the music industry has been “creating” fake artists for decades.
    ever heard of ‘The Monkeys”?
    what about “the runaways”?
    the recent movie dramatized the whole manner in which they were “created” by that manager.
    there are a lot more just like them.
    there are hundreds of no talent “artists” that have had all of their material written for them for their entire careers throughout the entire “rock” era.
    so this phenomenon is not exactly new.
    just thought you should know.

  19. Jessica Rehberg Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 01:00:26 -0400 EDT #

    Wow. I enjoyed the article, but am disgusted by the comments following it. When the hell did it become acceptable to crucify the artistic ability of the author of a relatively insignificant Internet article? So she hurt your feelings when she criticized Taylor Swift. I get it. Bash the opinion, not the writer. Why must everything be a personal attack now? And, I notice those of you attacking the writer’s artistic ability, physicality, age, etc. are doing so comfortably shielded by the anonymity granted by these sites.
    I dunno whether I agree with the article or not. But it was moderately humorous and entertaining and the vile nature of the responses was inappropriate and childish. Shame on ya.

  20. Matt Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 01:33:07 -0400 EDT #

    No need to trash this article people. I think we all know that poor Taylor Swift is not the best vocalist in the biz. She writes some clever songs but her talents lie in songwriting and not performing. I felt bad for her on the Grammys (horrible duet with Stevie) and I think this writer is just trying to point out that the record industry has always made knee jerk choices towards signing artists and maybe not picked some of the best along the way. In 2010, an artist’s best choice is clearly to sign independently anyhow (or not sign at all) as the stablity of a label waivers from month to month.

    Slinging mud makes you all seem barbaric. Try reading these articles with an open mind and maybe take something constructive away from them.

  21. John Scott G Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 04:54:10 -0400 EDT #

    Excellent article! Wonderful observations and well-written. BTW, auto-tune is also used in live shows, folks.

  22. Susie Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 06:11:58 -0400 EDT #

    I found this article to be ignorant and biased. Yes, labels tends to take control over some artists, but that doesn’t mean that all successful musicians are “making it” because of their looks. A lot of pop artists are songwriters and have a major say in the production of their albums and concerts.

    I understand that the article is not only about Taylor Swift, but you should have done some more research on her before you bashed her songwriting abilities. Even if she’s not the best vocalist, she’s proven that she has the songwriter chops to fill stadiums and sell albums. And that kind of talent is reworked by production teams; it’s raw.

  23. Eve Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 07:09:16 -0400 EDT #

    WOW! So many of you missed Danielle’s point or points about the music industry and ARTSISTS. I find her article informative and I appreciate her humor and style of writing!

  24. Solana Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 15:15:56 -0400 EDT #

    I am amazed, and really in this day and age, I shouldn’t be. While I see the point of many of these comments left, I also see that many of you have missed the point Ms Egnew was making in her article. The Music Industry’s need for revenue over need for respect of the artist is exactly the reason that many \Artist\, have left the major labels and either began their own label or went with another indy label, so that they, and not just the label holder, can sustain their lives, getting what is rightfully theirs, a piece of the pie! A friend of mine, Bryan S. Fox (goggle Chemtrail records), writer, artist, was listed with a Major Label and left it because he was only making 4% of the revenue his albums generated. I believe that was the point being made in this piece?! Do we want studio mix or natural talent, on the stages of the World? Is it Americas got talent, or America can be sold anything with the right marketing plan?

  25. Davida Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 17:49:01 -0400 EDT #

    This is interesting…Danielle Egnew and Miley Cyrus on the same musical page!

    Teen star Miley Cyrus has stated the reasons behind her decision to quit music – the ‘Hannah Montana’ star has grown disillusioned with the “contrived” music industry.

    The 17-year-old singer and actress, who shot to fame with the hit Disney show, has released three studio albums to date, and is planning for her fourth, out later this year, to be her last.

    She admitted that she felt forced to put an end to her pop career as she grew tired of record label bureaucracy.

    “I just feel like the industry is so contrived and political right now. If people stepped away and said, ‘We’re not going to work like this, it’s more about art than the politics’, then maybe it would go back to being respected again,” Contactmusic quoted Cyrus as telling Daily Record.

    “I’d rather be in an industry that I feel like I can be different in, and do things that really inspire me. It’s not that I don’t love music, I do. But I feel like I just need to get away from that for a little while,” she added.

    Cyrus moved on to serious acting with her first grown-up role in ‘The Last Song’, and has confirmed that she wants to concentrate on her movie career.

  26. Myowngirl Mon, 12 Apr 2010 at 18:32:21 -0400 EDT #

    Whoa and hold the presses…

    Do you mean to tell me that all recording artists don’t write their own music and lyrics? There is no way that the labels would sign artists who can’t really sing – would they?

    Regardless of whose music you like and whose you don’t really care for – the point of this article was to point out the major record labels are “screwed” right now and the only way they can keep afloat is to hang their hats on solo\performing groups who perceive they have little to no influence on the choices being made about their careers. Kids and Adults – this has happened before, most notably in the Disco Era when music fans finally gave the big middle finger to an industry that figured out that they didn’t need musicians anymore. Why not just lay down some synthesizer tracks and then find a studio musician with decent looks and voice to belt out the words? It works for awhile, but eventually we all want the same thing – MORE!

    Long story short – history repeats itself over and over and only the names and faces change. Evolution had it that music artists performed on Radio programs – those who listened in decided, hey how do I get this at home? Voila – along came phonographs to play your “record” albums on and record labels to help sell and promote them – then came TV and so on. Unfortunately, the hot commodity that record labels had to throw on the table, vinyl discs, slowly became the promotional piece for the artist and major labels have been feeling the squeeze ever since. To survive until today they (major labels) have had to diversify their offerings to make up the difference, but as efficient markets go – major labels are seeing that what they have to offer is way too expensive and uninspired. Thoughtful and informed artists aren’t buying their bag of big dreams and b.s. – long live Righteous Babe Records and all the other artists who went INDIE and took back the reigns of their own destiny. Sub-Pop – I love you too!

    Soon enough – Arena Rock and big, bad hair will return too – Can the current major labels re-invent themselves though when everything they have had to offer historically has floated off into an MP3 bubble? Time will tell that story, but it doesn’t look good for them right now.

    A little side note: I’ve actually heard Ms. Egnew defend the likes of Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and even Hanson. She’s not a hater at all – she’s just pointing out that most of the “creative” and “thought provoking” music isn’t coming out of major labels anymore because, simply stated, real artist’s don’t need anything that the major labels have to offer anymore. Toodles for now!

  27. Oli Wed, 14 Apr 2010 at 06:54:39 -0400 EDT #

    I’m saddened by how poorly people critically read and write in this generation, and I’m sorry that most of those who exercise such poor skills have the greatest urgency to comment so negatively.

    Thank you for writing this piece. It is true that the corporate beast claims all. I hope that the labels you deal with aren’t soon absorbed like so many.

  28. Jwburney Tue, 27 Apr 2010 at 06:05:38 -0400 EDT #

    I like how people read a critical article of the music industry and assume it an attack on any artist mentioned in the piece. Maybe the facts of what artist wrote what or which ridiculous and meaningless awards show gave who an award are a little off. The main point is valid. Record labels tend to either hijack an artist into being some meaningless pop sensation. Labels steer away from anything meaningful or important. I think Taylor Swift is fine and thats the music that works for some but it leaves the rest of us who want something different from music out in the cold. You can’t deny that Swift’s music is geared towards things that matter to young girls and few else. Just look at what the labels have done to hip hop. It used to be fun and also attempted to express problems with social order. Now the mainstream is overrun by club songs about getting drunk and banging chicks. All the deeper songs are underground because thats what it takes to tackle social issues in hip hop. Rock and country have slowly gone the same way focusing on the same old stereotypical formats. It’s not that all music from mainstream labels is bad but that it has made the music from our times dry and meaningless.

  29. Jacqueline Thu, 16 Sep 2010 at 19:56:08 -0400 EDT #

    Wouldn’t surprise me if all the comments saying that danielle is a “Jealous hater” were coming from taylor swift fans and not ACTUAL Artists or people involved in the music industry..

    If i am right then you guys have no place to comment on this topic as it doesn’t affect you at all..

    I as an artist who writes all my own music have found this one of the best reads in a long time. Everything written here is spot on..

  30. American Girl Fri, 01 Oct 2010 at 03:55:19 -0400 EDT #

    Taylor Swift is totally manufactured, over-hyped, and talentless. To all her defenders who say people who dislike her are “jealous” that’s the weakest excuse I’ve ever heard. To be jealous of something requires you to want to be that person and I would rather die than be someone who lives such a lie as Taylor Swift. Her entire career is built on acting victimized. This includes the Kanye West incident and her breakups, all of which she uses to feel sorry for herself. Writing her own songs? That’s hilarious if you think rearranging lyrics about being heartbroken around the G chord over and over again is impressive. Also to her defenders who say we shouldn’t criticize a young girl doing her best: To be an artist means opening yourself to critique to improve. It’s because audiences nowadays blindly accept and defend the music on the radio without actually listening that the music standards today are low. The most despicable thing about Taylor Swift is not her personally, but how the world praises her for doing absolutely nothing to deserve it.

  31. Lacey Tue, 23 Nov 2010 at 23:04:10 -0400 EDT #

    Gosh, people, what, if you don’t like an entertainer, you are automatically jealous? That’s about the weakest argument I’ve ever heard. I could loop all of you Taylor Swift stans – Kanye West haters as just jealous of Kanye West, but obviously you have valid points to fuel that point which I can still understand and respect. I, am jealous of Taylor Swift. Not to the point where I want to stab her or make snide comments about how “ugly” she is, but, not to compare myself to God, but in that sort of jealousy. I’m jealous for all the girls who sing Taylor Swift covers on youtube better than she could ever perform it live. I’m jealous that they will never reach the same amount of success and yes that they deserve because they are not as pretty as Miss Swift or won’t sacrifice their individuality to just make a buck.

    All in all, I never got a jealous vibe from the writer at all. I got frustration and more hate for Britney Spears than Taylor Swift than if there was hate at all other than just the obvious hate for the theiving fat cats of the music industry. Just because Miss Egnew is the same profession as Taylor Swift, and doesn’t have the same amount of fame or is an obvious industry slave, err i mean, “relateable artist” doesn’t mean that she is jealous; just more prone to recognizing the obvious bullshit that is staring you in the face. I can understand your ignorance to the cold hard facts of the music industry; I used to be a 6th grader, and I used to be OBSESSED with Taylor Swift.

  32. Karen Tue, 11 Jan 2011 at 06:29:55 -0400 EDT #

    Danielle!
    I love you! You said it so well. Whenever I try to explain this to people, they look at me like I have three heads! People believe what the media tells them to believe. I absolutely detest what American Idol has done to music. I have two questions for all those tone deaf people who defend Taylor Swift. 1. Why is it so personal to you? Do you live your lives through her? 2. If she is so darn good, why aren’t other artists lining up to sing duets with her? Just think how silly it would be if we gave the top awards to people who were “trying hard and improving.” Give the Heisman to a little kid who almost won a punt pass and kick contest. Give an Emmy to a theatre student….etc. Danielle is right, it is all about the money. I , too, get so sick of immature people saying that anyone who criticizes is jealous. We still have freedom of speech in this country. I have a professional singer in my family who sings live every day with no auto tune or other helping technology except a microphone, all genres and on pitch. If she sang as badly as Miss S. at auditions, she would never work.

  33. Ken Thu, 20 Jan 2011 at 18:21:51 -0400 EDT #

    I agree with a lot of what the writer is saying. Most artist don’t make much money. Most of the people who have commented missed the point. I like Taylor Swift and think she has a great voice. Very few artist have a natural sing voice. Most are made in the studios. The recording studios are only interested in image or that look. That what sells albums. The voice is just a plus!

  34. Karen Sun, 23 Jan 2011 at 00:55:37 -0400 EDT #

    Ken,
    Unfortunately, your comment about few artists having natural singing voices is probably true, but it only applies to recent pop recording artists, not to people who actually sing live every day for a living like on Broadway, theatre, cruise ships etc. It is very sad that only looks and sex appeal have become what sells pop music. I have been saying for many years that people are buying music with their eyes instead of their ears. They buy because of a video with all the flashing lights and distractions and auto-tuned tracks. There literally are thousands of real singers of every genre who have beautiful natural voices and can sing on pitch pretty much all the time. TV has lowered the bar of expectations. I try to encourage people to stop thinking of TV as the measure of music, get out there and see some live musical theatre, symphonies, opera, real country. There are local community theatres with singers who can sing rings around pretty girls like T. Swift, who is not a singer. She is an “performing artist” like you said.