In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Taylor Swift the successful music artist shares her thoughts on the shifting music industry. I saw a few takeaways for libraries as a parallel media industry.
The opinion piece by Taylor Swift “For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story. The Singer-Songwriter Says Artists and Fans Will Still Form Deep Bonds, but They Will Do It in New Ways” appeared in the Wall Street Journal on July 7, 2014.
It is interesting to pick up what a successful member of a different media industry thinks about directions. Give the piece a quick read online http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-taylor-swift-the-future-of-music-is-a-love-story-1404763219 and ask what parts we share in our profession and what sparks curiosity or concern.
A few applications for our industry:
Swift feels confident in the continuing value and role of the album as a collection of discreet media pieces as “an economic entity.” Perhaps a parallel to the book in digital age. She cites the artistic investment into the product and the assumed marketplace value. She as many creators do, feels that pieces of art should have value attached to them.
She is right that people who are still buying albums are buying the ones “that hit them like an arrow through the heart.” The only books I buy are the ones that have struck me deeply. I only buy an entire music album when I know the artists can touch or move me. However, the point here isn’t in behavior but in accepting a challenge as content creators in a changing ecosystem.
The language in her piece is remarkably similar to discussions about evolving roles of books; emotional attachment seeking an economic model.
Swift identifies the selfie as a new currency sweeping aside autographs and Twitter followers aka social currency as currency for artists seeking opportunities.
Like libraries, Swift identifies the music industry as at an exciting time because of challenges and creativity.
I expected to gather a few lessons about media but the most valuable piece for libraries shared by Swift may have been that “stepping out of your comfort zone is rewarded, and sonic evolution is not only accepted…it is celebrated. The only real risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all.” An era of risk as reward. And because of shifts in privacy there is a demand for surprises.
The emphasis on an emotional connection applies not only to the nostalgia of books but also to the connection with and continued support for libraries.
There is reason for optimism from emotional and value added angles. Change is key not just because of market evolutions but also as a direct result of specific behavior shifts and expectations.
-Joe Murphy Librarian