According to the pop/country superstar, it is important for an artist to form a love affair with their selfie-hungry, Instagram-friendly, fans.
Taylor Swift made her journalistic debut by writing an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Monday, July 7. She stated that autographs days were over and Instagram's the latest currency.
"I haven't been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera," the singer wrote, claiming that the autograph had become "obsolete" in the last few decades. Fans no longer get in line to get autographs from artists they idolize. "The only memento 'kids these day' want is a selfie," the singer continued. Swift believes for these kids, the "new currency" is "how many followers you have on Instagram."
She also mentioned the power of fan followers on social media by referring to one of her artist friends' story. "A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers," she revealed.
The singer, who sold more than 1.2 million copies of her album "Red" in the first week of its release, saw that fan power, especially social-media based, becoming a trend in the music industry. She recalled her experience dated back in 2005, when Myspace was huge and she explained how she used the site to communicate directly with her fans at her first record-label meetings. She predicted that in the future artists would get deals because they had fans, not the other way around.
With the tech-savvy fans she had these days, Swift tried to find ways to keep her fans entertained. She wrote, "In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online."
To Swift, relationship between artist and fans is like a love affair. She believes that some artists make music which is "just for fun, a passing fling," while some others are "like relationships that we hold dear in our memories but had their time and place in the past." She added, "However, some artists will be like finding 'the one.' "
To keep her lovers happy and prevent them from getting bored, Swift stated that constant "element of surprise" was needed. "No, I did not say 'shock'; I said 'surprise.' I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can't this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?" she explained. In the piece, Taylor also criticized the free distribution of music, calling it as an act of "undervaluing" someone's art.