The Taylor Swift Backlash Has Begun

To everything there is a season. For the longest time, Taylor Swift could do no wrong, even to the point where she made Apple blink and change its policy recording royalties through their new music service. But now the tide has begun to turn and Ms Swift is starting to feel the inevitable backlash against her popularity and power.

Item 1:  Salon

But the superstar’s Twitter incident with Nicki Minaj — spurred by MTV’s Video Music Awards snubbing Minaj’s “Anaconda” video  – has opened up a broader discussion about Swift’s privilege and preening and phoniness, and it’s about time. The Guardian has called Swift’s response to Minaj — she blamed it on men — “faux-feminist” and “tone deaf.” The typically sober Atlantic charges Swift with “uses the pretext of female solidarity to try and shut down [Minaj’s] frustration with the music industry.” (Minaj was complaining about the way black musician often get overlooked.)

And the press and media — which has bowed to Swift’s every move — may be just getting started in this new direction. This is from a substantial new Gawker piece, “Taylor Swift is Not Your Friend,” which documents a lot of over-the-top blather praising her.

It’s surprising to see smart people talk about Swift with such breathlessly positive overtures, not only because—like pop stars before her and pop stars after her—her music is simple and unfussy and infused with inane platitudes, but also because there appears to be something more opportunistic and sinister at play. When Taylor Swift does the mega-pop stardom act, she does it to the tilt. Swift has to be the person with the prettiest friends, the biggest records, the most popular and successful and groanworthily obvious boyfriend. The underdog narrative that the Swift machine has built is one of forced falsehoods; Swift is not coming from behind. She’s been ahead since she started. And watching her collect best friends during a moment in history when womanhood is finally beginning to feel valued does not only feel uncomfortable—it feels evil.

“Evil?” Hmm. You can read the rest here.

Item 2: The concert photo scandal. From the BBC.

Pop star Taylor Swift has changed restrictions on image rights at her concerts after a British photographer branded them “unfair”.

Jason Sheldon had claimed the singer did not “play fair” over the use of photos taken at her performances.

But after a blog, in which Mr Sheldon took issue with Swift’s criticism of Apple Music’s artist payment policy, went viral, the singer “backed down”.

A new draft contract drawn up with her PR team has now been published.

Mr Sheldon’s criticism of the star followed her own blast at Apple, in which she said a three-month free trial offer meant artists and producers wouldn’t be paid for their material during that time.

In an open letter to Swift, Mr Sheldon, from Walsall, West Midlands, wrote: “How about making sure you’re not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?”

Mr Sheldon, who runs the Walsall-based Junction 10 agency, said he and other photographers had been called to hand over some rights to their images from Swift’s live concerts.

His letter went viral which, he said, caught him by surprise.

Read the rest here.

Item 3: China hate her. From TheMusic.Au.Com

A number of musicians have been involved in controversial circumstances with China in recent weeks and the latest artist to come under scrutiny is none other than US pop princess, Taylor Swift.

The 25-year-old singer who is scheduled to make the trip over to China in November this year for her 1989 World Tour has launched a new clothing range in support of the shows.

As reported by ABC, hooded jumpers can be purchased by fans with the slogan ‘TS 1989’ printed on the front, obviously referring to the Grammy Award winning singer’s initials and date of birth, however to some in China it reads as ‘Tiananmen Square 1989’ in reference to the tragic event in which the Communist Party sent in troops to gun down thousands of protesters in Beijing.

An interesting “misunderstanding,” no? More here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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