I love the quote from Don Draper, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” To me, that is quintessentially what Taylor Swift has been doing with each album and each step of her career over the last ten year.
Taylor Swift began her career as a young teenager who wrote songs in her bedroom about boys she had crushes on, grew into a young woman who wrote about boys she dated and broke up with, to a woman who writes about love, loss and her opinions. Her catalogue of work is quintessentially feminine in nature. Her work truly catalogues a specific (white and or middle class) experience growing up. And she has done this with more honesty than her peers.
What has happened over the last few years is that Swift has had an education in people. Not everyone likes you, not everyone will respect you, and your power and influence is based mostly on perception. Swift seemingly grew a backbone after the Kim/Kane West stuff, because she didn’t just complain to her girlfriends that her back catalogue was being sold to someone she detested, she let the whole world know.
A musician signed to a major label usually does not have the rights to their masters, or original recordings of their music. The artist usually gives up those rights in an exchange for the resources that the label will put into their career.
Swift is doing what most American women are taught not to do, complain about the status quo. Not keep our complaints private. Because Swift has been as public about her issues with Scooter Braun she is controlling the narrative. When the Kim/Kane West stuff happened Swift did not have control of the narrative. She has learned from this and is now selling the T-shirt.
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