I started listening to Taylor Swift when she first rose to fame with her "Tim McGraw" and "Teardrops on My Guitar" singles. I didn't love her, nor did I hate her, but she became a staple of my childhood. In fact, many of her earlier songs hold some kind of sentiment in my life, whether they can be related to a schoolgirl crush or to a time in my life when I was experiencing change. Taylor Swift's music has always held this golden key to success because she can relate to the awkward stages of girlhood; consequently, she became branded with this "girl-next-door" image from the time she stepped into the industry. However, there have been moments in Taylor's career all very indicative of when she was strictly in it for capital profit, a result of the music industry's modern-day autocracy.
Before we get into the effects of the music business, let's review the timeline of Taylor Swift's paradigm shift into an untouchable, music tycoon. For starters, she sued her fans that were making art in adoration of her music and selling it on Etsy. This came as a shock to Taylor's fanbase who believed she'd do anything for her supporters. Sadly, this was a decision engineered by her deep delve into the capital aspects of music. Furthermore, we mustn't forget about the ongoing feuds between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, where their friendship was destroyed all because Taylor's dancers decided to tour with Katy instead. While every artist is human and experiences drama, this a particular instance of Taylor allowing the business to intervene with her personal relationships.
But now, we must address the juicy part: Kim Kardashian exposing Taylor Swift. It has been all over the news and social media for the past week, so it won't be entirely necessary to expand; let's just say that if Taylor's previous blunders weren't enough to make her fans go berserk with distrust, this should've sent them over the edge. In order to keep her "wholesome", "good-girl" image, Taylor referenced Kanye West's song "Famous" at the VMA's, putting it down as if she was a victim of something malevolent. Just recently, Kim released the videos that proved Taylor's approval of Kanye's song, despite what Taylor's speech suggested at the VMA's. It wasn't even Kim who ultimately ruined this sweet singer's reputation, but the actions of Taylor that caused a great casualty to her career. If Taylor Swift will ever be able to recover from this incident, hopefully she will change her perspective on the label she is involved with.
Contrary to that statement, I am not necessarily blaming anything on Taylor Swift herself. Although she allowed her wealth-oriented motives to change her style and her message, it was all at the expense of the contract she is under. The public has seen the big arts and entertainment field tear people down and destroy them, which is exactly what happened in this case. The industry has taken control of Taylor's actions, mistakes were made, and now she is paying the consequences.
This leads my focus to a more critical issue: major record companies are lacking in principle. As a true fan of independently labeled music and movies, I must express my disappointment in the non-independent companies that can easily build aspiring artists up just as easily as they can tear them down. Although making a deal with such labels are great start-ups for people who wish to make a career in music, major record companies are merely corporations looking to lock talented people into binding contracts and use them as means of profit and investment. Taylor Swift and Kesha are perfect instances of industry victims, both who found themselves crowded in by technicalities and heavily-promoted brands. Independent labels, on the other hand, give artists certain freedoms to express themselves without having to worry about company growth and profit. A sense of wholesomeness is associated with independent companies; it is often said that artists signed with an indie record label receive more in the end and are generally more appreciated for their work. In a way, indie record labels are the community colleges of the music industry: they are smaller and more personal.
I will always be an avid supporter of indie music and local musicians who practice the art on their own terms. When musical tyrants get involved, it can only do more harm than good to an artist's image and overall value. These large record corporations are injuring the wellness of musicians who simply wish to create meaningful music. Taylor Swift was once a down-to-earth, modest teen who focused on relating to girls of all ages. Now, she is turning away from her fans and spreading blatant lies in order to preserve her image. And what happened to her can happen to anyone else signed under such businesses just as quickly. Taylor Swift's recent actions have given me all the better reason to ditch the gimmicky pop stars and stay true to music that maintains morals. I had a good run with her as a child, but now, my heart belongs to the ethical side of music.