Music Musings: Taylor Swift Gets Real About the Music Business

Check out Taylor Swift’s incredible speech at the Billboard Women in Music Awards.

The music superstar made the state while accepting the award for Billboard’s Woman of the Year.  Swift, a seven-time Grammy Award winner and twelve-time Billboard Music Award winner, had the year’s highest selling album by a single artist with 1989 (only Disney’s smash hit Frozen has sold more as of now).  Swift is one of the most powerful voices in all of the music industry right now.

So her choice to get right to the problem at hand was heard loud and clear by fellow artists, writers and producers in the room.  For music to continue to truly be an industry, some serious changes need to take place.

Here’s what she had to say…

…I am very well aware that the music industry is changing, and it will continue to change.  I am open to that change.  I’m open to progress.  I am not open to the financial model that is currently in place.  I really believe that we in the music industry can work together to find a way to bond technology with integrity.  And I just really hope we can teach a younger generation the value of investment in music rather than just the ephemeral consumption of it.

There has to be a way for streaming, or any future ways that we access music to fairly compensate the writers, musicians and producers of that music.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you probably caught my earlier post taking a look at the issues surrounding dismal album sales.

When people say that the music business is in crisis over sales, it’s not joke either. Just how much does a hit song actually make from streaming services?  Fusion online has the answer…

Through the first three months of 2014, “Happy” was streamed 43 million times on Pandora, while “All Of Me” was played 55 million times on the service.

But how much money did all those streams make for the artists involved in creating the tracks?

According to an email from Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier obtained by Digital Music News’ Paul Resnikoff, “Happy” brought in just $2,700 in publisher and songwriter royalties in the first quarter of this year, while “All Of Me” yielded just $3,400.

At current rates, Bandier said, one million plays of a song on Pandora typically translates to only approximately $60 in royalties, which then gets shared between the songwriters and publishers.

“This is a totally unacceptable situation and one that cannot be allowed to continue,” he wrote.

When contrasted to the early 2000s (when most people It’s one thing for industry professionals to share their private fears and frustrations over the future of music sales.  But when icons like Taylor Swift speak up, the greater community is sure to listen as well.

Cheers to Taylor for her commitment and bravery.  This speech itself is yet another indicator for why she is indeed Artist of the Year.