3 Business Lessons Musicians Can Learn From Taylor Swift

With a net worth over $200 million, singer/songwriter Taylor Swift is a financial force to be reckoned with. Her success comes in part from her unique business model. To Swift, every person involved in the creation of her music is as important as the music itself.

Here are three pages that every musician should take out of Swift’s book.

1. Music has value

Taylor Swift made headlines in fall 2014 when she pulled all of her music from the popular streaming site Spotify. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Swift explained her decision.

“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for,” Swift said.

Time reported that artists make less than a penny for every song streamed on Spotify. While this tiny revenue would likely add up substantially for chart-topping artists such as Swift, her decision reflects the plight of up-and-coming artists to choose lucrative streaming options over ones that offer quick exposure.

Taylor Swift

2. Everyone involved deserves compensation

Taylor Swift again made waves in the music industry in summer 2015 when she penned an open  letter to Apple Music concerning their unfair compensation policies.

During the three month free trial period offered to customers, Apple planned not to pay royalties to the artists whose music was played. Swift used her platform to stand up for those artists whose voices would not be heard.

“This is not about me,” she wrote. “This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.”

Apple listened, and artists whose music was available on the new streaming service were compensated fairly. In order to draw more attention towards Apple Music, Swift released a concert movie exclusively through the site

Taylor Swift

3. Innovation is the key to success

Taylor Swift achieved her fame with an eight-year country career. However, with the October 2014 release of 1989, Swift crossed genres, declaring herself a pop star.

Before the album became the first and only of 2014 to go platinum, many had doubts about Swift’s genre swap.

“Everyone, in and out of the music business, kept telling me that my opinion and my viewpoint was naive and overly optimistic- even my own label,” she said in a Billboard interview.

However, half an album’s worth of hit singles and a high -grossing world tour later, Swift didn’t look so naive anymore.

Because of the leap of faith in herself that she took, Swift was able to take her already illustrious career to new and better places. Like Swift, musicians shouldn’t be afraid to take a chance for success.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is one of the biggest artists of her generation. More than just talent, it is her smart business decisions that have taken Swift to the top. By learning to value their music and, more importantly, themselves, musicians can establish their own reputations.

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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.