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Whether you like the woman or not, Taylor Swift has certainly sparked some controversy in her time as a seemingly evolving and rebirthing musician. She seems to have taken several leaves out of the books of women like Madonna and my personal messiah Cher in that reinvention seems to be her favourite pastime. Is this all down to 360 pressure or is Taylor really the kind of woman who wants to inspire people to change themselves whenever the rest of the world gets bored? Who knows, this article isn't about her personal choices anyway.
It has recently come to light that Miss Swift and Ticketmaster have entered into some kind of cult pact where the completely vile, anti-phenomenon of pay-to-play will now affect fans too, albeit only Taylor's fans for now, but really, in this industry, terrible ideas spread like wildfire and the poor, fake chucks wearing, true music enthusiasts always seem to get the bum end of the deal.
I understand the idea behind incentive based ticketing, ideally it would mean that scalpers have less of a chance and the kids who have been saving up for years to see their idol would magically be in with a chance of doing so. However, this doesn't work in reality, does it?
In order to be in with a good chance of a place in the queue (yes, queue, not even a guaranteed ticket), Swift fans are urged to pre-order her new album, buy merchandise, and spend their savings on the ever growing empire of shit that the music industry has become since its inception. People out there with mounds of cash, who didn't have to clean their entire house for £5 pocket money and a pat on the head will, admittedly, get their chance to be in the auspicious queue of Swifty dreams if they so choose, but those poorer fans; the little kids who have to beg their parents for even just a mere chance or the teenagers who slog away washing dishes for £3 an hour will most likely end up taking their chances on what's left of the slim-pickings ticket train and risk a chance of not seeing their idol at all, purely and simply because they can't justify spending money they don't have on tickets they want, but can't honestly say they need.
This is why the music industry is pretty much as FUBAR as it always has been, even under the guise of making things better. It's no secret that money is the key to success in this day and age, and with various talent shows, youtube and auto tune, A&R teams have little reason to leave their leather clad desk chairs for more than a quick smoke anyway. This basically means that the hard working, striving for success underground bands and musicians are only really wasting their time, and I have seen that reality sink and shame so many wonderfully talented musician friends over the years.
The beauty of the unsigned, underground scene is that those kids that start off in their parents basements and garages and dining rooms, getting complained at by neighbours and tired family members, still have the strength and fire to keep trying even when they get knocked down, and maybe if the industry took a little more notice of those people, it wouldn't be such a closed, exclusive, VIP place to have to stomach.
In this day and age, you're only going to get your music heard by the masses if you spend every pretty penny you earn on blowing smoke up the arses of every journalist, label rep and big industry man or woman you can find, when really you should be spending that cash on your sound and your fans.
So, musicians, if you want to fight the system, we have to stick together. Ignore Swift and focus on the bands and musicians like Kate Voegele, Iron Maiden, Tyler Hilton and the like that do everything for their fans to feel included, even if you don't personally like their music. Save up your hard earned wonga and embark on a shitty, week long tour of the grubbiest, dirtiest venues in the cities your fans hail from, talk to those fans and listen to what they have to say because those fans are the people that will drive you to success. Ignore the greed and wealth of the industry and do what you can to fight back, maybe it'll be enough, maybe it won't, but at least the little man is taking a stand.
Thanks for reading.