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Category: Op-Ed

Big Machine Bans Taylor Swift From Performing Her Own Songs, Then Lies About It.

If it’s one thing former Big Machine Label President Scott Borchetta and newly acquired owner, Scooter Braun do well, it’s lie. While their statements and tactics fool some fans, they don’t hold up to those paying attention, (those that actually care about the truth and not believing the lies told just to continue the hate towards 10x GRAMMY winner and AMA Artist of the Decade, Taylor Swift).

Earlier this summer, Swift let the world know that her masters were being sold to one of the most manipulative men in the industry, Braun. She expressed hurt that her entire back catalog (previous first six albums) would be in the hands of the man responsible for bringing her such pain over the years, something Borchetta knew about.

Despite both men claiming that she was over exaggerating and was informed of the decision, she was left out of that information until right before the entire world found out. Borchetta claims he sent Swift a text message the night before, but Swift was in another country, and well, time zones. By the time she got to her phone, she had hundreds of notifications alerting her about the sale of her masters, before she even had the opportunity to read said text message. Regardless, letting someone know the night before the entire world finds out is hardly “advanced notice.”

Now even more details are being uncovered. Swift recently performed at an event in China where she was supposed to play at least 5 songs. She however, only got to perform 3 (all from her current album Lover, which Big Machine does not own). She was told that performing any of her older songs would count as re-recording (since the performance was taped and broadcast) her work before she was eligible (she will currently be allowed to release re-recordings next year). It makes sense now why fans were confused why her set list got cut short (no, she wasn’t trying to screw over fans, Big Machine was screwing her over).

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On Thursday, 11/14/19, Swift took to her social accounts, telling her peers and supporters that she “didn’t know what else to do.” She (no doubt) feels trapped and helpless as she had plans to perform a medley of her songs at the American Music Awards in two weeks, where she is being honored as Artist of the Decade. Since the show is taped and televised, she was informed by Big Machine that she would not be allowed to perform her old songs, as that would again count as re-recording her music.

Swift further revealed that she has an upcoming documentary special with Netflix (this was not how she wanted to announce it) but that Big Machine would not authorize its release since it contains recordings of her back catalog. In the heartbreaking post Swift informs readers of her ongoing battle.

Read her full statement below:

Guys, it’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.

Additionally—and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news—Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film.

Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.

I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate.

The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.

This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans. So this is where I’m asking for your help.

Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.

Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this—I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.

I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything. Right now my performance at the AMA’s, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark. I love you guys and I thought you should know what’s been going on.

Taylor

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Friday, 11/15/19, Big Machine denied Swift’s statement but also didn’t direct deny they were false. They never said they specifically wouldn’t let her perform her songs at the AMAs, they rather diverted the public by stating they never said she couldn’t perform her songs, as legally they cannot keep her from doing so. This could also be a factor into why Swift has not planned any major tour, as she would probably not be allowed to record the concerts and release them later (as she has been known to do). Swift released her Netflix special following the Reputation tour, prior to the sale of her back catalog. Now, Swift would be unable to video any of her performances until November, 2020. So although Swift can perform her songs live, there cannot be any recordings of them, which is why she technically would not be allowed to perform her back catalog at the AMAs.

So it seems that Big Machine are really the ones who are being “calculating” as they have called Swift. Ironically enough, Swift stated in her interview with CBS Sunday Morning that “when a man does something it’s strategic, when a woman does something, it’s calculated.

The statement from Swift’s rep is below:

The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following:

“Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba “Double Eleven” event.

To avoid an argument over rights, Taylor performed three songs off her new album Lover at the Double Eleven event as it was clear that Big Machine Label Group felt any televised performance of catalog songs violated her agreement.

In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix.

Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post.

Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.

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Once again, Big Machine tried to play the victim and manipulate the public into feeling sorry for them by stating Swift is somehow hurting their 120 employees, another false allegation. They state Swift owes them money (which has not been proved), but even if she did, the company is not withholding payment to their employees pending Swift’s payments to them. Furthermore, Swift is no longer a member of their label, they manage tons of other artists, who are what, not earning the label any money? Please, their entire statement is just a manipulated tactic to make themselves seem like the victim, which oddly enough is what so many haters have accused Swift of pretending to be in the past.

See their full statement below:

As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.

The truth is, Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career. We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward. We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved. However, despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision last night to enlist her fanbase in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.

Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist. All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.

Big Machine is obviously very scared about Swift re-recording her back catalog, which she will be eligible for in one year as it will significantly decrease her masters value, which they are currently profiting off of. Swift’s back catalog is the only reason Big Machine sold for $300 million and the reason they tried to manipulate her into agreeing to not re-record them if they gave her permission to perform her medley and release her documentary.

Apparently Big Machine has not learned that you cannot go up against Taylor Swift and win. They did not learn the first time around that she cannot be manipulated into giving them what they want in order for her to get what she wants. Swift is not only fighting for herself, but for the thousands of artists who struggle with these same issues. Many of which have been sharing similar stories. This is not a selfish fight.

Remember back to when Swift fought for artists to be paid royalties on streaming platforms, and that she would not add her catalog to Apple Music unless they agreed to pay artists for the first three months that subscribers don’t have to pay. She didn’t do those things because she is greedy and wants more money, she did that because she has a voice and she used it to change a system that was broken. If only others would follow suit.

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Op- Ed: Should Celebrities Speak Out About Politics?

This piece originally appeared in The Talon, a student run newspaper for Mt. San Jacinto College. It can be viewed on page 2-3 titled “Opinion: Celebrities speaking on politicsand was written by Variety Beat founder Jencita Vargas.

There is quite the controversy over the question of whether or not celebrities should speak out about politics. A quick glance at social media leads to seeing statements like “You’re a singer, not a politician, nobody cares what you think, stick to singing.” For curiosity’s sake, who then is allowed to speak out about politics? Only politicians? Wouldn’t those views just be biased opinions to help whichever party they belong to? If someone is well educated on the policies and candidates running, why are they seemingly not allowed to speak out about their beliefs?

When a family gathers for a barbeque and politics are brought up, do people tell their family members “you’re a teacher… you’re a nurse… you’re a bank teller…. nobody cares about your political opinions?” Why are celebrities excluded then from their political opinions; simply because they are in the public eye? Why shouldn’t they use their platform to help make a difference?

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We don’t try to stop celebrities from helping the homeless, or donating to charities, so why should we stop them from engaging in politics? Is it simply because we don’t want our opinion of them to change if they do not agree with our values? Or is it because people are scared they are going to persuade others to vote a certain way and that will mess up the results they are hoping for?

To bring this issue into current context, recently singer-songwriter Taylor Swift started a petition in support of the Equality Act to demand “that on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.” In order to elicit a response from the White House, a petition has to have at least 100,000 signatures. The petition has now passed over 500,000 signatures, which Swift pointed out was “five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.” The next morning, the White House gave a response.

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Let’s pause there; Swift used her platform to speak out about something she was passionate and well-informed about, encouraged others to support that, and managed to get a response from the White House. Regardless of her job classification, that’s pretty impressive.

Would a celebrity have an ulterior motive for speaking out about politics? Usually not, in fact, it tends to alienate large groups of people. There has been pure outrage with some people who have left comments saying they were disgusted they attended her concert and will no longer be supporting her.

Is that how we treat friends and family who have different opinions than ours? Sure, celebrities aren’t necessarily our friends, but why should we treat them with such free disdain? Why should their opinions be any less valuable just because they happen to have a bigger platform? They do not have to be ostracized simply because their beliefs might differ from our own.

Think of it this way, if a singer wanted to start acting, they might initially be met with resistance. People might say, “stick to singing, you know nothing about acting.” That may be true, but if they have a desire to learn, they can study, take classes, and develop a knack for acting. People might even go on to win both a GRAMMY and an Oscar. Maybe one becomes a master at both. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. California literally had The Terminator as their Governor. Who says actors can’t also be politicians or become informed on issues important to them? Maybe people are just scared of what these people can accomplish.

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Take Ronald Reagan for instance. The former President acted in at least 30 movies and was President of the Screen Actors Guild before serving his country in the Army. He became the Governor of California for two terms and eventually President of the United States for two terms. Who says actors or people of other professions cannot become good political leaders?

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It is key that if celebrities are using their platform to speak out, they become informed. Swift has been one of the artists to prove that she has truly taken the time to learn about the policies, candidates and bills/acts so that she can support those that align with her beliefs. In a recent interview with BBCR1 Live Lounge, Swift opened up about her decision to use her platform to speak out about politics. “The things that happen to you in your life are the things that shape you and your political opinions and your willingness to discuss them… If I can stand here with 120 million Instagram followers and say ‘this,’ maybe ‘this’ helps, maybe it doesn’t, but you gotta say it.”

Encouraging others to get involved and educated so that they can also use their platforms to help illicit change will only bring positive changes to the world. Charities aren’t the only things celebrities can support and who knows the difference they can make if we take the time to be opened minded and non-judgmental because of their celebrity status.

Tom Hiddleston Opens Up About Lost Love and Taylor Swift

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift took the world by storm last Summer as their romance traveled all around the world. Their adventures took them from America, England, Italy and even to Australia. They looked so happy together, so happy that no one could believe their love could truly be real, that it must be some magical PR ploy to help Swift out of her recent heartbreak and to help Hiddleston further his career in America.

 

In the months after, we haven’t heard much about the relationship. Swift hasn’t released any music about him (if she does, we imagine it will be a magical love story), and Hiddleston hasn’t talked about the relationship much in the press. Can you blame him? The entirety of his relationship, his motives and sincerity was being questioned. He couldn’t go out for a run without cameras following him. He was not use to this much attention or distraction from his career roles. Instead of being asked about the movie he was working on (Thor: Ragnarok,) he was asked about his relationship with Swift. Was the relationship real? What was she like.

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I wrote a piece on a similar subject before: Here’s Why Some Celebs Can’t Handle Being Friends With Taylor Swift. In it, I address how hard it is for other celebrities to be friends with Swift, because every interview, every interaction becomes about her instead of about them. The media knows Swift is the biggest Pop star, that her very name will immediately attract attention. So what better way to ensure that their articles do well? Ask a question about Taylor Swift. After they do this, instead of promoting say a model doing a fashion show and leaving the headline to be about what it’s truly about, they turn it into “So and So Says XYZ About Taylor Swift…” Imagine, nothing is about you anymore. You love this person, but you also lose sight of you and the importance of what you’re doing and what you want to say. Only the strongest people can put all of that aside and it’s not for everyone.

This kind of attention takes its toll not just on friendships, but especially on relationships. When the very nature of you is questioned. When every look on your face somehow has an alternative meaning and everything about you from your hair to your shoes is analyzed, simply because of who you are dating. No one else gets this kind of criticism. Why has the world put so much attention and focus on who is in Taylor Swift’s life?

People joke about Swift and how she hasn’t had much luck with dating. Mind you, she spent 15 months in a relationship from 2015-2016. Could anyone find luck with dating when everything that couple does seems to be on some sort of sick public trial? It’s a lot of pressure and relationships, especially new ones, are hard enough. There are enough doubts and insecurities in a new relationship, adding cameras, fake headlines, falsities and rumors can quickly detangle that.

 

Hiddleston has finally opened up about his relationship with Swift and not with some quick, over-rehearsed answer. No, he was passionate about his answers, he went on and on even when the reporter told him he didn’t have to talk about it anymore. He wanted to set the record straight, that things done in private, that get broadcasted to the media without permission and taken out of context are the kinds of things that bring sadness and pain. He also wanted people to know how real the relationship was and how they both decided they didn’t want to hide and were going to truly live their lives and do things they wanted to do, despite the cameras.

Hiddleston opened up to GQ about the relationship saying:

“If you’re under attack, if your values are under attack, if you’re being shamed, if you’re being humiliated, the animal response is to hide in the bush. It’s to be less, to make yourself smaller, to diminish in size and volume. And the lesson of 2016 is we have to love more, we have to risk more, we have to be braver, we have to be more outspoken.”

The reporter went on to say: “It wasn’t until much later that night, after we’d parted, that I realized we had started talking about Taylor Swift long before we started talking about Taylor Swift.”

Hiddleston continues with her: “Taylor is an amazing woman, She’s generous and kind and lovely, and we had the best time. Of course it was real.

When the reporter asks if he wants to say anything about Australia, about the Fourth of July party and the infamous ‘I ♥ T.S’ tank top he says:

 

“The truth is, it was the Fourth of July and a public holiday and we were playing a game and I slipped and hurt my back. And I wanted to protect the graze from the sun and said, ’Does anyone have a T-shirt?’ And one of her friends said, ’I’ve got this.’ ” The friend pulled out the “I ♥ T.S.” And we all laughed about it. It was a joke.”

He went on to shared how he doesn’t want other people’s opinions to affect his life and the way he lives. He definitely found that to be a lot harder than he could have previously imagined.

“I have to be so psychologically strong about not letting other people’s interpretations about my life affect my life. A relationship exists between two people. We will always know what it was. The narratives that are out there altogether have been extrapolated from pictures that were taken without consent or permission, with no context. Nobody had the context for that story. And I’m still trying to work out a way of having a personal life and protecting it, but also without hiding. So the hardest thing is that was a joke among friends on the Fourth of July. I don’t know, I just, I was surprised. I was just surprised that it got so much attention. The tank top became an emblem of this thing. I only know the woman I met. She’s incredible. A relationship in the limelight… A relationship always takes work. A relationship in the limelight takes work. And it’s not just the limelight. It’s everything else. (They both wanted a regular relationship) So we decided to go out for dinner, we decided to travel.”

 

After going to Australia to film Thor: Ragnarok, he would get up in the morning to run and the cameras would be there. He says: “I’m getting up so I can do this job well. I’m getting up to go for my run so I can play Loki as well as I can.”

The reporter shares one of the most important parts about the difficulty of a relationship in the limelight:

“Everywhere he went, whether it was checking e-mail on a park bench or looking at a menu, if he furrowed his brow it meant he was miserable and that would incite a new tabloid story about how hard he was taking all of this. It was a tough time, a public tough time. Chris Hemsworth gave him some good guidance; Hugh Laurie checked in. His family worried. So you can think whatever you want about Tom Hiddleston, you can swift-boat Hiddleswift all you want. But he is as bewildered by the whole thing as you and I are.

He looks at me finally and he says;

I’m not going to live my life in hiding. Because you have to fight for love. You can’t live in fear of what people might say. You know, you have to be true to yourself.

 

The end of the article is the most vulnerable, it’s not recorded, it’s not documented for the world to read, but the reporter gives us true insight into how broken the world can make a person. How despite the fact there is “freedom of press and speech” that what people fail to realize is while they’re trying to make a buck, they’re destroying lives by writing about things that 1. aren’t even true and 2. don’t even matter. People all need to spend a little more time analyzing their own lives and relationships and why those are going wrong instead of trying to ruin and pick a part perfectly happy ones.

“I turn my tape recorder off and I stand up, but he doesn’t. He shakes his head again, his hands clasped together, and he hangs his head. I sit back down and we talk some more because I finally understand that he isn’t here as someone who needs to explain his side in a PR battle; he’s here as someone who is still crushed by the end of a relationship.

So we sit and talk for a while. We talk about how relationships go sideways, how the ripples of a breakup can still pin you to a wall even months later. We talk about heartache. We talk about sadness and healing. We talk about what it’s like to love and what happens when the object of that love withdraws but all your love is still there. We talk about how those things can really change a person. The world will chip away at your optimism, and you just have to fight back. You have to be someone who is still full of joy and full of love, who can still use a word like “obsessed” about porridge. You have to be bold and open. You have to be honest. You have to be like Tom Hanks. We all have to be more like Tom Hanks.”

Let’s promote love and cheer people on who find happiness instead of trying to destroy it. After all, love is what creates us in the first place and hate is what is destroying the world around us.

http://www.gettyimages.com/event/vanity-fair-oscar-party-hosted-by-graydon-carter-arrivals-601478003#taylor-swift-attends-the-2016-vanity-fair-oscar-party-hosted-by-at-picture-id513074484

Here’s Why Some Celebs Can’t Handle Being Friends With Taylor Swift

If you happen to be a middle child, then you can image what it’s like being friends with Taylor Swift. Wait, stay with me.

Here’s what it was like for me, growing up as a middle child:

Everyone used to know me as “so and so’s sibling.” I used to think it was just because I had older siblings, and my younger sister would eventually experience the same indignity, but somehow that never happened. Instead I became know as her sibling as well. I’d wonder, why can’t I just be me?

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You see, whether you’re friends with Swift, know her by association, or have just been spotted with her, you’re going to be asked about it—possibly in every interview you do.

Why? Because people care about her, in fact she’s one of the most cared about celebs in existence..

When you are constantly asked about someone, you can start to resent them because you want to be known as your own person. You don’t want to be constantly asked how your sibling is doing and what are they up to and do you have a favorite memory with them. Or how about being asked when the last time you saw them was and what did you talk about? What am I their secretary? Go ask them! Ask me about me, show a little interest in my life!

That’s what it’s like to be friends with Taylor Swift. It takes a special kind of person to be able to handle that. To not care that every interview you do, they will ask about your friendship.

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It happened when Swift went to Australia. The media is so obsessed with her that they had a “Tay Tay Cam” recording her plane landing. Then it became breaking news—despite everything else happening in the world—that Taylor and her “boyfriend” were there. Forget the fact, they are there because of her boyfriend who just so happens to be a well known actor who is currently reprising his role as Loki in Thor 3. When they walk by the news crews, people are shouting for Taylor (not Tom Hiddleston, which was the reason they were there). Not to rag on Australia or their media, they are actually quite lovely and have been actively defending her after all of the drama that has been happening lately. More to make a point, that those are the lengths and the extremes of being Taylor Swift and not everyone can handle that.

If you mention Taylor Swift; if there’s even any hint at her name, it’s going to make a headline. That kind of thing can get emasculating and it takes a hell of a guy to be able to withstand that level of fame and be able to hold their own. Let’s not bring up Swift’s last relationship with he who shall not be named.

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Now back to the other matter at hand… friendships. Selena Gomez is a perfect example. She is one of Swift’s longest and closest celeb friends. I’ve seen countless interviews with her and Swift is almost always brought up. It doesn’t matter if Gomez is promoting a new song, album or movie… the headline always becomes something like ‘Selena Gomez Dishes on Girl Time With Taylor Swift.’ It doesn’t matter if the interview was 20 minutes long and only 30 seconds was about Swift, the rest gets overshadowed.

 

 

 

So there are certain people, like Gomez who don’t let those things get in the way of their friendship, and there are others who decide they don’t want to share that spotlight and are going to make headlines by doing their own (usually ill thought out) thing.

There are others who have opened for Swift on her tours or maybe they were just a guest who walked the catwalk during the 1989 tour. I have seen countless interviews with the same people who walked the catwalk once, and they are still being asked what that was like (over a year later). They walked a catwalk during a concert…. interview them about something relevant…. like their movie or album or tv show. This is why people who aren’t Swift fans get tired of hearing about her, stop brining her up every five seconds!

However, I do love hearing all the nice things they those people have to say about Taylor. I feel it is helpful to see people like Ruby Rose and Mariska Hargitay standing up and singing her praises. With the amount of people that are constantly saying how down to earth and wonderful she is, you are probably wondering why there are others who can’t seem to get along with her.

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It comes back to being confident in yourself. If you know your self-worth and aren’t looking to be validated by the media and every single person in the world then you’re that supportive middle sibling. You can still be you and be proud of who you are without needing every inch of spotlight.

The media knows they will get more clicks if they relate someone more unknown with Swift’s name and that’s why they do it. A lot of people I’ve never even heard of until someone asks them about Taylor and then I see it on my Tumblr dashboard that this person said such and such about Taylor. In a way, it’s good for them. More people are checking out that person’s music they otherwise wouldn’t have, had it not been for the mention of Swift’s name.

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In a way, I also feel sorry for those people because their spotlight is taken away. It’s being shared when it shouldn’t be because it was never about Taylor. But then I also feel bad for Taylor… because she didn’t ask for that. She has no control over what the media writes and so when people say “who cares” it’s because they are sick of seeing her name everywhere. It’s not because they’ve taken the time to find out about her and see she’s been recognized as the most charitable celeb the last couple of years. They still see her name everywhere in a time where she isn’t releasing new music, and isn’t on tour simply because mentioning her name immediately attracts attention… positive or negative it’s still attention. It’s still traffic to the media sites and so they continue to use her name to promote people you might not otherwise read about (enter Kimye).

It’s so easy to hate people sometimes isn’t it? You want to read about what this person you can’t stand is doing, just so you can text your friends and make fun of them, even though there’s really nothing to make fun of. “Oh my gosh, did you see what (so and so) did last week… she thinks she’s so cool….” I’ve had it done to me. People who regularly made fun of me were watching my youtube videos or reading my posts so they could make fun of them… but wait… you’re still giving me views… you’re taking the time out of your day to check on what I’m doing, someone you supposedly can’t stand…

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So you see, good or bad, people keep clicking those articles… so the media keeps writing about her and it probably won’t end any time soon.

To the friends who have stuck by her side, thank you. You’re the real MVPs. Thank you for sharing the photos and answering the interview questions, even when they took time away from you. When you find a friend worth keeping, like Taylor, you don’t mind being the proud middle sibling singing their praises. You answer the questions, let them know how they’re doing and share stories of when you were last together. It’s easy to get upset about not being the center of attention, but it’s a lot better to keep a friend that’s so worth having.

jencita

How Artists Can Connect With Fans and Grow Their Audience

Recently, I was searching an artist’s social media sites to try and come up with interview questions for them. They didn’t have a large following or heavy interactions and it got me thinking about how they can connect to their fanbase.

Unless you’re a really huge artist and all your songs go to #1, you’ll probably have to spend some amount of time connecting with fans on social media. Not everyone likes to be on social media a lot, which is definitely understandable. For one, it’s time consuming and as an artist there’s a million other things you have to do, not to mention living a life outside of being an artist – with friends and family.

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However, as a smaller artist or one that might not have had much exposure, social media is the only way to really spread the word about your music and who you are. Country Artist, Kelleigh Bannen stated recently that it’s difficult to connect with fans when you’re releasing a single every 18 months. In an effort to keep that connection alive, Bannen started her own blog ThisNashvilleLive.com where she talks about everything from music to fashion to work outs! She also takes the time to reply to fans on twitter or simply just favorites a lot of tweets.

Favoriting tweets is a great way to connect with fans with minimal effort. You don’t have to reply to every single person, but the fans at least get the sense that you are seeing what they are writing you and you appreciate it.

The smaller the artist is, the more they have to work to build up their fan base and following. As you start to grow as an artist and your fan base widens, you won’t have to do as much, but you still need to keep the interactions alive.

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It’s like this; imagine you’re a fan and you’re following an artist who’s music you enjoy. Say they only tweet every so often. Maybe after a show, thanking fans who attended (always a good idea), or when they release a new song or music video, or maybe they post photos every now and then about their lives. Well that’s cool and all, but if the only time you’re going to be tweeting doesn’t connect the fans to the artist, it’s not really productive. If you want the fans to download your music, to RT you and share things, you have to give a little to get a little. That’s why interactions are so important.

Another thing I feel strongly about it staying humble and remembering how hard you had to work to get to where you are. Remember how hard it was for your publicist (or maybe you’re your own publicist) to get any kind of promo for your music. To get sites to list you on an “artist to watch” list or review your new single. I recently had an artist personally email me asking me to do a review of their album. That’s the kind of hard work it often takes to get your music heard.

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Now let’s talk about the small sites vs the big sites. It’s pretty much the same as a small artist vs a big artist. Everyone wants to be on the big sites, they feel honored if they talk about them or mention their music. It is exciting after all to be able to expand your audience with their promotion. So you RT their articles and their interviews and maybe you favorite another interview you did from a smaller site no one has really heard of. That smaller site is you! The smaller sites, who were at one time the only ones willing to write about someone they’ve never heard of and give your music a chance and now they are getting scoffed because their audience isn’t as big.

Now, that’s not to say you have to RT every media outlet who writes a review of your work, but at least if they take the time to interview you, whether it be via email, phone or in person during a big festival… the least you could do is share that with a quick RT. It takes only a second but it means so much. You see, when those smaller sites start getting ignored, it does feel personal. Here they are championing you and have been there watching your career as it’s beginning to rise and then they get ignored because they aren’t prestigious enough. All that does is make them not want to promote your music because you no longer seem genuine. You know how it feels to not be heard, to feel like no one is taking your music seriously. You know you can reach people with your music if given the chance. That’s how smaller sites feel too, they’ve got a voice and often times they are the ones writing the most passionate articles, the kind that gets people to listen because of how much they believe in you.

 

Another way to connect with fans is by sharing photos directly on social media sites. That means, if you have instagram you can’t just press “share to twitter” and call it a day. The post on twitter shows a link and that not only makes your twitter feed look less appealing it’s also less inviting. It takes a lot for someone to click a link, and you’ll get more RTs and favorites if you post the actual picture on twitter. Plus that way fans know you took the time to open twitter and check it and you’re not only using instagram. It’s also the perfect time to check your interactions and favorite some tweets!

Fans also want to see a real side to you. Sure it’s cool to see all the fun places you get to travel and the people you get to meet, but they don’t connect with that. They connect with you being a regular person who shops at Target and takes the dog for a walk. The most mundane moments in your day are the most relatable ones.

 

Snapchat is another great way to connect with fans, it’s probably the best part of social media in the sense that fans can feel like they’re a part of someone’s day. There’s things you shares on snapchat you wouldn’t share anywhere else and all in a dog filter! No but really, you can snap you cooking dinner, or walking to soundcheck and wanting to say hi. It’s short and quick and you can make multiple snaps a day without clogging anyone’s feed because it all shows up as just one post.

As Lori McKenna and Tim McGraw would say, “Always stay humble and kind.” At the end of the day, to get your songs on radio and up the charts you need the fans to call and request. Show them you’re someone worth picking up the phone and dialing for in an age of texting and tweeting. Happy connecting!