276 Comments

As a Swiftie, Venture Capitalist, Poet, I love this. And it should happen. How can we make it happen? Not just a wonderful post from you, but for real?

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author

I'm dead serious about this. So let's hope it's for real.

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Yes and it would work too. I work at a financial cooperative (credit union) and I have seen what can happen when folks pool the resources into a structure that aligns and supports their interests. It often times can be their only access to traditional financial services. Keep up the great work Mr Gioia. You are indeed a "joy" to read. Cheers!

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Ask Rick Beato to help your message reach her.

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Great idea!!!

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Why do we Americans always look for a savior?

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Not a Savior, a leader. Leaders required for change. As Ted points out, Taylor has already demonstrated many of the qualities of an extraordinary leader. She needs great people around her (like Ted) to make it happen. Do-able.

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No, a leader chooses the role...a savior has leadership forced on him/her.

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Sep 15, 2023·edited Sep 15, 2023

You're wrong about that. The best leaders take on the role reluctantly, accept the mantle of responsibility with much trepidation. They are the ones who have other things they'd rather be doing, but understand and recognise the need for what they will do; they are the ones with integrity who understand power and dread its effect, yet will use it because they must. A leader will lead by guiding people in what must be done, and establishing systems that empower them to achieve it without him; a "saviour" revels in the role, taking on as much of the responsibility as he can in order to maximise the glory and adulation he believes is his due, as the "saviour".

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Thanks for that, you saved a lot of typing for me.

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I agree completely, that being said, it’s fair to point out the difference between someone who wants to be a savior (as we describe) and someone who people project saviorhood onto, as such the OP comment is kind of in reference to the latter but I think it’s worded in such a way that makes it incomplete

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Agreed, and I think the distinction there is just a labeling issue - for example [hw] probably either doesn't like the idea that leadership is required, or has something against the leader in question, so he disparagingly labels them "saviour" irrespective of their motivations, virtues or qualifications.

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Actually those who choose to lead generally fail. The best leaders have emerged when a confluence of events have forced no other choice and they rise to the occasion.

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Usually people who want to be saviors will seek out leadership (which is why so many shitty ppl r in leadership, among other reasons)

Someone who’s INVITED into leadership is typically far better/apt than someone who seeks to be a leader. We invite leaders to lead when we see their capacity to do so effectively

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If there's anyone who will not suffer anything being forced on them it's Taylor Swift.

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Please reread your comment...

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She hasn't a clue.

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Seriously? You're going there…?

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man did you even read the letter

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Yes. My comment was more of a solution comment.

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hey, good for you!

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Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023

Americans really believe some great individual will come save the day. Rather than change a failing system, that's failing in all areas not just the music industry, we need some great individual to start an "ethical" LLC that will save the day. This individualistic mindset is so toxic. I'm disappointed in Ted for this one and last "why is the culture stagnating". He won't address the elephant in the room(capitalism). His analysis of stagnating culture will include everything except capitalism.

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How do you think musicians would flourish under communism?

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An alternative to capitalism does not have to be communism. Capitalism, however, cannot abide any other system besides itself; and that is a problem for our future.

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What other economic systems are there? You seem to equate individualism and capitalism as the elephant in the room. The alternative to that is collectivism and communism/socialism. How do you address the elephant? All music should be free? (Spotify with ads) or all musicians should be paid (capitalism)? Is Taylor Swift and individualist and capitalist? What about the busker playing bucket drums in the subway or bassist uploading to YouTube (Mina gf bass https://youtube.com/shorts/MaNi07XYLXM?si=ZoTyVbp1Rsskl9Lv ). Is making money off music bad? What is collective music? North Korean Patriotic Choir?

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Your claim that capitalism has no alternative other than (the worst forms of) communism is specious; as is the implication that there can never be one that is neither the predatory capitalism we have now or the thuggish communism of the Kim regime. It's a false dichotomy.

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I didn't get that from Ted's piece at all. It will take a group to make change, and Taylor can gather a community. Now that he's written this call to action, who else do you think should come together? Legit question, not rhetorical. This community of readers can help!

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See: Margaret Mead: "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

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TJ,”This individualistic mindset is so toxic” ,THE INDIVIDUAL , is THE most important entity in the natural world. And the only one who can make a difference for good or evil. And history has proven this.

“the elephant in the room (capitalism)” HISTORY has also proven that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system. Socialism promises to do this but fails EVERY SINGLE TIME.

“Ethical” First problem, who decides what is ethical? Your viewpoint seems to revolve around top down control instead of the better way of bottom up responsibility starting with the individual.

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No, Ron. As this very letter explains, the collective aka the community is the most important entity in the world. But the thing other people are discounting is that unfortunately as it stands we do need an individual with a large amount of money to be able to make any change. And that is a tragedy in and of itself. I think quite possibly the people in this thread need to check out income inequality statistics across the us and other places with similar economics. as true as it is that western society way overvalues individualism over collectivism (aka the power of many individuals being one) it’s also true that at every moment we are being paraded and accosted with ideas that support this notion. That any old joe can grab his boot straps and become a member of any financial class he “puts his mind to” because THAT is the power of the individual

the hardest working people I know are poor. Why are they poor? Because they get paid $15/hr or less most places, and that’s supposedly revolutionary. They work 35-40 hours a week and pay a significant amount in taxes on that weekly check. They work manual labor jobs or jobs that require you and your body to be well and get sick from it and then what happens? I don’t need to explain that to you. I think anyone whose feet are on the ground can deduce what happens.

I don’t want to get into socialism vs capitalism with you and that’s not what I am discussing intentionally.

But you don’t get to say the individual is more important than the whole, when one man can own more wealth than an entire bloodline based mostly on the class status he was already born with.

why do you think people pass out bootstrap stories like they are precious jewels? Because they are one in a million.

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founding

Yes, AND…

Please see my comment above—and consider channeling your righteous indignation back into the (relatively) concrete, intrinsically collective effort proposed by Ted, rather than diverting energy into more abstract debates with early doubters who’ll eventually join the movement as momentum builds (if they were genuinely committed to progress in the first place!)

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I have enough betrayed energy to do what I please with it, thank you. I’m one of those “starving artists” so you really don’t need to be concerned about what I’m typing in the dead of the night. I think given the context I have every right to spread my righteous indignation to whatever corner of this conversation I feel it should go. That’s the miracle of the human mind. I have so many thoughts and so little opportunity to speak them in a place where those who actually have power might read my words. Isn’t that asinine? But it’s true.

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My dear Ron, you are deeply confused about what socialism actually is and probably what capitalism is as well. Top down control is the capitalist system. I'm willing to bet you spent your entire life consuming american propaganda when it comes to these topics and haven't heard about what socialism is from an actual socialist. Please give this video a watch: https://youtu.be/fpKsygbNLT4?si=u-K9be9nrPSg2hXI . Once we agree on what these systems entail we can have much more productive conversation. Otherwise, we will just be talking past one another. Here's a video the refutes your capitalism lifting people out of poverty claim: https://youtu.be/2vPhySbRETM?si=5HOf7FH05s7_-j3s Just give it a chance. Please be open minded.

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TJ, and other socialists

No I’m not deeply confused. I’m 68 and spent my entire life working until my recent retirement. I did spend the time to listen to your video.

I do know a scam when I see it, and I know words are very cheap unless tried in the fire of life. Lastly, history does repeat itself, and everyone would do well to learn from it.

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100% agree. I share the same disappointment for posts like this from Ted.

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Speaking as a comrade, this is just out of line. Ted is calling on someone with incredible power and sway in the music industry to help change the system in a viable, possible way that would make playing music a viable living again. He's not praying to some imaginary deity, and he's not calling on any billionaires or any other captains of industry, he crafted a savvy, eloquent and succinct letter to Taylor Swift. He's brought data and research and expertise and presented it all in an entertaining way. It's what this platform is for. Why are you complaining?

He's using his platform to point out problems in the music industry. He offers solutions, as well. Would all of these problems be solved with a communist revolution? I don't even think that's relevant. None of our institutions work, and the revolution will be eventual, not immediate, not quick, not easy. In the meantime, I'm so glad we have thoughtful and knowledgeable thinkers in the music industry like Ted, who clearly give a damn.

I mean, why stop at your criticism? Why isn't Ted calling for the overthrow of the patriarchy? And how can Ted even think about reforming anything as dubious as the music industry when structural racism and White Supremacy still exist?

And of course all this does is invite all the centrists, libertarians, hardcore capitalists and people who just hate communists for sport to come dunk on you, because you haven't even offered a sound argument for *how and why* the music industry would thrive under socialism. There are great arguments to be made! But you gotta come correct and make them. Otherwise, you're doing the cause a disservice.

And by the way, it's either capitalism or socialism. There's no third thing. Once people stop searching for some imaginary third thing, then maybe we'll get somewhere (away from this capitalist hellscape).

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Are we talking capitalism vs social democracy socialism, like the Scandinavian countries? Denmark is held up as role model here. If by socialism you mean something else, can you point to a country or system that is more less what you have in mind? This is an honest question. I’m just asking so I can learn. Thank you!

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I mean socialism socialism. I mean the workers owning the means of production. To what degree does each nation employ that model? Great question! Not for me to answer, tho.

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Hey Seth. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I can’t answer that question either. But I do appreciate the response. I know when we’re online reading comments it’s hard to get a sense of tone, if someone is being honest or sarcastic or smarmy or whatever, but I asked the question in total good faith. Thank you again and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Ted has written about capitalism before.

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Because you have been so beaten down into submission by rampant capitalism that you can't see any other possible way out. Ted is not asking for a saviour. He's calling on a woman with integrity and power to consider spearheading a broader change for the benefit of all musicians and society in general.

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To assume that a 33 year old should fix a broken system because she has (through hard work and talent) amassed power and wealth is patently unfair. Your last sentence is the definition of savior-seeking.

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She is also a rampant capitalist.

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Sure, but without destroying the entire system (which I'm all for), you're bound to have some of those to effect a solution, however imperfect.

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What? Capitalism is bad, but not if you’re the most successful in your industry? Should all musicians now retake the profits she earned and stole from them? “Real communism has never been tried” Taylor Swift has mediocre talent, but good business skills (I even shelled out $hundreds years ago to take my then teenage daughter to see her shows). Same goes for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga: plain music, good capitalism.

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It’s not an American thing it’s human nature

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It's not just America, this is a worldwide issue.

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You must be thinking of the French

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Because anything we try to do grass roots only gets so far what with the bread and circuses we fall for. And I also take umbrage to that word savior. You are putting that on her, not the writer. He is asking her to lead.

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Again, call it what you will, but it's unreasonable to ask a 33-yo to give up her future, her career, and her personal plans to take on an entrenched industry (a role she neither asked for nor expressed interest in) because tens of thousands can't figure out a way to collectively unite and demand change.

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I see what you are saying. I think though you are taking it too literally. She wouldn't have to give up everything. She has so much power it's crazy she could assign a whole thing to it. It's like Oprah when she set up her schools in Africa. (although lesson be learned there, at least keep a trusted person have an eye on it, remember the sexual assault allegations? I think this guy's plea was much more like "1. you know what's going on because you are at the highest level and already fought for shit, and 2. You have already displayed a fiery propensity to Fight the Man on your own." so, please try and maneuver things. No one expects a 33 year old woman to drop everything and fix the music industry.

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Your point is valid. Leadership is a vanishing commodity in the US. I understand the desperate desire for someone to follow.

My concern is there seems to be a culture of passivity in the US. Change can't depend on the perfect leader.

Unions aren't the only answer, but collective bargaining is one of the few remaining tools to fight overwhelming power in the hands of a few.

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That's a huge concern yes!! Everyone is so passive. I feel like the only way you would get a grass roots movement on anything is if the electricity went out, because that would interuppt everyone's entertainment feed. This is a problem I have no idea where to begin to fix.

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founding

Holy Cow. This is the best, strongest, cleanest, most compelling, most right-on-the-mark letter I've read in years. Thank you, Ted. And I agree with you: Taylor Swift is the one musician and artist in a leadership position right now who can move or maybe disrupt or dismantle the entire mountainous system. Thank you for helping her so essentially, for your advance lifting of the heavy boulders, and for spelling out the layers of problems for all your substack readers. BRAVO

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Didn’t know you were on here! I admired your work 25 years ago when I first became aware of it. Never met you personally though. It seems that Ted Gioia’s Substack attracts all the cool cats! I followed you in case you ever decide to start posting on Substack.

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founding

Hi Noah, thank you for the kind nudge. Yes, I am working on some new ideas and hope to launch on Substack soon. Ted is a huge inspiration. Very dear of you to wave.

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Ted Gioia

She should start with buying TIDAL. It sucks now, but it at least has the foundation of a good artist-based mission. The software needs to be completely re-written, but it has a pre-existing network of servers and all the necessary tech stuff in place. It would also let her join forces with Beyonce, the #2 artist in the industry, and it would give her some cred with the hip hop/R&B music community.

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After reading Ted’s letter, I had the same thought - what if Taylor and Beyoncé joined forces. As for Tidal, I agree that it’s gone downhill a bit, but it’s still much better than Spotify (or Apple or Amazon) if you’re a music fan.

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Sorry to say, Tay-tay isn't going to help anyone but herself. She does not care about my music, your music, or anyone's music who isn't named Taylor Swift. I admire your effort here, Ted. But it's a tad cliche to appeal to a big star. We need to think deeper about this.

Streaming expands the reach of no-name artists, immensely. I challenge you to prove me wrong. You admit here that "middlemen flourish" but then complain about how poorly streaming platforms pay musicians. It's the middlemen that are paying artists, my friend. Imagine how much more money major label artists would make if they eliminated all of the middlemen! It's a racket that's almost as bad as U.S. Healthcare!

You've got to stop blaming streaming. It's here to stay and they are not the ones doing the screwing.

The change needs to be a step by step process.

Frankly, I think you need to encourage young, unknown artists to continue partnering with streaming platforms and using 0 middle men - no labels, no music publishing, no baloney marketers.

Then the question becomes how to legitimately give all artists a chance to get heard. Because you're right about radio dying. It's just another racket. Always has been.

The entire industry is a racket.

It's probably a pipe dream to think we can get rid of all the dirtiness in the music industry. But we could at least hypothesize together. How does John Doe Musician get a chance to be heard? How can the listeners pick what's popular instead of being told what's popular by having the songs jammed down our throats?

These are the things we need to think and discuss - amongst US.

Not Taylor Swift.......she's part of the problem, my man!

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Ok as a musician how am I supposed to release my music on Spotify without the use of music publishing ? I’m sorry if I am just dumb as all hell but I’m pretty sure the only way to do that is through band camp or SoundCloud, which is direct upload. And what do you mean marketers? I’m sorry am I taking this all out of context because this is antithetical to everything I have learned about the music industry in ten years, which to be fair I have spent my entire career in the DIY scene because… well! Read the letter.

unless you don’t actually mean small underdog artists, but artists with a small following who have already spent likely large amounts of money on trying to jump start their career only to stay small. What about the ones who are too poor to even get there? I can’t even count the amount of mind blowing musicians I know who can’t get a check from a streaming service but can make rooms full of people essentially fall to their knees and cry. Or jump around and feel the most joy they have in years. In fact I can say with 100% confidence that the most talented artists I have ever been blessed to hear have been live, in an apartment or a small bar with less than 50 people attending, and living at or below the poverty level. Some of them have passed away without ever seeing a check, or knowing how talented they are.

Do you remember Nick Drake?

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You say a lot here and it's going to be difficult for me to address everything. Let me first ask a question: Are you saying you think Taylor Swift is/can/will/could help fix the crooked music industry? Do you agree with Ted's premise here?

I do remember Nick Drake. He's more popular now than he was when he was alive....and a massive part of that is due to the Internet, YouTube, and streaming music services.

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I don’t think you get what I meant by bringing up Nick Drake. I’m asking if you know about his life.

Do I think she could? Yes. Will? Not likely. But I think the letter is not just about actually making Taylor swift do this exact thing. It also has been bringing many conversations out, and I have seen multiple people say “how do we do this ourselves” and I think the answer is many people work together who have the ability to do something like this. I am honestly begging at this point. The music industry gets more horribly depressing at every turn for small, working class artists and I have never wanted to give up once but recently I understand how some do. it’s the entire culture surrounding it. it isn’t just Spotify bad. It’s how the public regards musicians.

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The great thing about the shitty, corrupt old music business model is ... boy, did it work well! It generated a lot of money, which it subsequently bet heavily on a _lot_ of artists who never made it, never sold more than a small handful, never came close to returning the investment... A&R were the heroes, the rockstar venture capitalists, and the artists who never made it were the seed projects, the experimental, exploratory ventures into music's future that encouraged young artists to follow their muse, and not necessarily just play what was popular. They led to the ones that did make it, who would move the music forward (or somewhere else at least), and change the shape of society; and the ones that didn't make it still managed to make a fair living for a little while too. What a contrast to the poverty-ridden chaos that is music today...

The other aspect of this model was signal : noise. In this lies what I believe might be our biggest problem - where do we find our new music? For anything new to really get any traction, it needs overt, explicit support in focusing public attention on it, not just a lot of airplay. People tend to decry "being told what to like", but this is essentially human nature - the vast majority of us do actually require some sort of external force to focus our attention on a particular artist/song, whether we are aware of the fact or not. Influencers have always been a huge factor in the music business, and radio used to be an indispensable part of that... now it's just a corporate statistics game. There are no personalities with permission to experiment, so there is nothing groundbreaking coming through, and (perhaps as a result of this) there is no longer the kind of receptive audience that can make it work.

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Right on!

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I'm not even into her music, and I approve. From everything I've heard, she seems like a decent person.

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lol...

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(1) Please pardon my blasphemy, but in my humble and deeply unpopular opinion, the messianic rhetoric around Taylor Swift is absolutely out of control. It's disappointing to me that even Mr. Gioia seems to have succumbed to the almost worshipful mentality that has consumed the entire culture. Music journalists are afraid to publish even the mildest criticism of her work for fear of death threats. I am not exaggerating.

(2) I would be glad to be proven wrong, but I have witnessed little evidence that Swift has the selflessness to stick out her neck out for other artists in any substantial way. Sure, she has "gone to battle against power brokers” — when it was in her own interest, albeit not exclusively so. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But she almost appears to view her profession, to some extent, as a competitive business, with a goal of building her "market share" to monopolistic levels. The way she chewed up a massive slice of vinyl production capacity, shoving aside other, less commericially-significant artists, so that her fans could buy four copies of her album to hang on their walls and never put on a turntable, suggests a deep lack of awareness and/or concern for the effects of her actions on her fellow musicians. Her personal behavior and lyrics have frequently displayed a pettiness that is especially unbecoming of someone of her age and stature. Yes, it's admirable that she pays her staff well and makes donations to food banks, etc. More artists should follow her example. But for someone whose tour revenues are larger than the GDPs of some countries, it almost seems like the least she can do.

(3) I would be especially shocked if Swift would do anything meaningful for the obscure/experimental/avant-garde artists that I personally care about the most. This may be purely cynical on my part, but I suspect that the people who would primarily benefit from the venture proposed in this article would probably be the other “superstars" who are in the least need of help.

(4) Finally on a somewhat tangential note… There is plenty of room for differences of opinion, and I recognize that I am in the extreme minority. But I'm not convinced that Swift is the earth-shattering, once-in-a-millennium musical genius everyone seems to think. Yes, she is an immensely talented, ambitious, and diligent individual with a undeniable flair for crafting popular music, and her commercial success is certainly unprecedented. Millions of people derive a lot of pleasure from and feel a deep emotional resonance with her work, and I respect that. However, I don't think Swift can hold a candle, in terms of sheer creativity, to artists like Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, or Nurse With Wound, to name just a few examples, who have invented entire genres or expanded the very definition of music itself. And lyrically, it’s hard to argue that she is in the same league as, for example, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, or Bob Dylan. This is not to say that Swift's work doesn't have substantial merit. I like plenty of pop music, even though my preferences are more skewed towards extremely obscure material. But the overheated rhetoric around Swift and her output is excessive.

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I like Ted's letter, but you surely made some great points.

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United Artists, for so many years, was the key place for independent Hollywood producers to pitch their tents, and the list of classic movies they backed is endless. Alas, in 1980, they financed a film called "Heaven's Gate", which nearly killed them financially, and they were ultimately amalgamated in a merger with MGM- one of the very studios the UA founders were rebelling against.

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No answer to an exploitative system will ever come from a Persona; especially not one whose subsurface machinery benefits from that system. Ms. Swift is a person, "Taylor Swift" is a Persona; one that happens to have what must be the greatest marketing team to ever exist on God's footstool. The system will win in a battle with any Persona; consider what happened to Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam in the wake of their fight with Ticketmaster in the mid-90s (+ they were unassailably in the right, as we now see). Or even Prince, in his "symbol fight" against Sony; he was also right, but they made him a cautionary tale anyway.

Ms. Swift will not fix this; only we, the millions of customers, can.

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I sure do appreciate you, Shaggy.

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founding

Yes, AND…

(Please see my comment above)

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I can't. This platform doesn't work that way. I can barely get back to the original post if I try real hard.

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founding

Page back to beginning of Comments and sort by New(ness). As of 0930 EST that’s ‘11 hrs ago’.

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And the millions of musicians. Insightful comment Shaggy.

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This was a lovely letter. It's funny but I buy Taylor's albums (especially her "Versions") to support her for the reasons you've outlined: her ethics, compassion, intelligence and more. Her music doesn't really speak to me as a 67 year old man, but I recognize the excellent songwriting and production--I fully realize that she doesn't need me as a fan but I feel lucky to have the experience of such an artist and human being during my time on this earth. I hope she does something. I hope she writes back to you Ted.

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The idea is quixotic for sure, but I will "dream the impossible dream." Here's hoping Ms. Swift will see Mr. Gioia's missive.

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Upon first read, I don't see how this would change anything, except Taylor Swift and Co. would own everything and presumably make better choices as a benevolent dictator and Co.?

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Well then you didn’t read it well.

Ted was pretty clear about inviting other artists, especially in a collaborative way a la United Artists.

He’s not calling on her to own everything but to make bold moves to disrupt the system altogether

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Actually. If you had read it...you would have noticed that he wants, first, for Taylor Swift to buy the entire music industry. And second, for her to implement a series of vague changes based on how he would run a record label (which he links to in a different post). One of those changes being he would recruit more students from Julliard? A strategy which, frankly, seems a bit elitist. Also, United Artist was a corporation. Think of it as an indie film company today. That is not quite the solve that he is proposing for changing the entire industry. He also states that unions wont solve it and the government wont solve it. But Taylor Swift can and will?

Listen, I am 100% pro Taylor Swift buying the music industry, that could only be positive, but I doubt that sort of transfer of power would be a solve to the problem. It would be a transfer of power, not a structural change. I believe that there likely needs to be a much more ground-level systems change of interconnected issues ( industry related such as music distribution along with other issues such as health care, social safety nets, housing, etc) over a long period of time for things to actually change to benefit artists. I'm also completely on board with the values that Ted conveys here. So maybe all I'm really saying is: these sort of expectations AIN'T FAIR TO TAYLOR or anyone.

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I’ve long though it would be interesting if instead of what we have now (subscriptions to streaming services), we had subscriptions to artists streams a la Substack.

I think it’s probably too late in the game now (streaming is solidified at a low cost to consumer) but that would’ve been an interesting solution 10 years ago.

I could easily have seen a transition from 99¢ per song to 2$ a month per artist, perhaps 5$ for some top tier artists. I can easily imagine die hard swifties paying 20$ a month for access to her music via subscription

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Ha! Exactly- she needs to start a Substack. It is a no-brainer, Taylor!

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😂 something like Substack would be cool. I’d def subscribe to some of my favorite artists for 3$ a month

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Brilliant letter Ted. I honestly don't know where you find the time to research stuff like this, but I'm sure glad you did. Thank you.

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She benefits from the stagnant state of the industry and culture. She could not be as big as she is if there were more vibrancy. No reason for her to take any interest in this.

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They aren't gonna help us

Too busy helping themselves

They aren't gonna change this

We gotta do it ourselves

They think that it's over

But it's just begun

This is the revolution I am here for.

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"trusted organization that nurtures the musical culture, enlists the participation of the best creative artists of our time, and has direct distribution to the fans"

"encompassing streaming, physical albums, and live music"

Isn't this already Bandcamp? During the pandemic they expanded to livestreamed events, too. Since it got acquired recently I don't know if anything has changed with them, but I still think of it as the best platform for music currently.

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author

I love Bandcamp, and I've often praised Bandcamp. But it falls short as a streaming platform. And it is owned by Epic Games. I'm proposing an artists cooperative. Finally, Bandcamp is popular with small indie artists, but has been less successful in attracting superstar musicians—and we need their participation if we really want to change the rules of the music business. That said, we should learn from Bandcamp, and imitate the things that is does well.

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Bandcamp is close, but it stinks as a platform for listeners. Ted, your co-op approach is exactly correct. I think you could get superstars onboard if they were shown where the money is. Old-school artists who still have a following would gladly jump. The most difficult part of this endeavor is finding investors who are willing to not see a traditional cash-out event, like an IPO or sale, but want to do something for the greater good. In my calculations, they could at least get their money back, but after that the profits go to the artists. Tough sell - not impossible, though.

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Pair her with Lady Gaga, who clearly gets it with her sheer talent and devotion to the Great American Songbook.

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