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Unread 04-20-2016, 01:34 PM   #16
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How do we define "sales" in the streaming era? Is that going to remain a useful metric? When the Beatles were putting out new music, your options for listening to them on your own schedule were pretty much limited to buying records, so things were more quantifiable. The music industry is shifting away from that model, Swift's stand-off with Spotify notwithstanding.

On the other hand, the global music market has become more interconnected and more overseas sales are available. That works out well for Swift, but it makes the markets not really as comparable.
You just blew everyone's minds.

Swift wins!

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Unread 04-20-2016, 02:00 PM   #17
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It's possible, but I also think her fan base is a certain cohort that won't significantly grow as she continues to produce. They'll be loyal, but I don't know if the kiddies will continue to buy in the way some of the other artists have. Her music is, as they say, very millennial. Can she appeal to the grizzledump generation?

Of course, she could do a Madonna and stay active for years. Like a Virgin was No. 1 the year I was born, but she was still charting albums at No. 1 in 2012. She moved 15 million albums with a new release 16 years after Like a Virgin. I think she may have the celebrity appeal and branding to do it.
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Unread 04-20-2016, 02:14 PM   #18
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You just blew everyone's minds.

Swift wins!
I'm not sure that's so clear!
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Unread 04-20-2016, 03:54 PM   #19
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But 1989 is her first full-fledged pop album, and it is a huge success. She has reinvented herself as a pop star, and it works for her. I think we are just seeing the beginning.
True, but I don't imagine that all of her young fans will continue to stick around once she's older (ten to fifteen years from now) and doing something noticeably different.
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Unread 04-20-2016, 03:57 PM   #20
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It's possible, but I also think her fan base is a certain cohort that won't significantly grow as she continues to produce. They'll be loyal, but I don't know if the kiddies will continue to buy in the way some of the other artists have. Her music is, as they say, very millennial. Can she appeal to the grizzledump generation?

Of course, she could do a Madonna and stay active for years. Like a Virgin was No. 1 the year I was born, but she was still charting albums at No. 1 in 2012. She moved 15 million albums with a new release 16 years after Like a Virgin. I think she may have the celebrity appeal and branding to do it.
That's kind of what I was trying to say, you just said it better.

A 13 year old kid who likes Taylor Swift now may not be into what she's doing in fifteen to twenty years. The Beatles, on the other hand, continue to make new fans with each generation. Kids in 2016 are discovering them for the first time (fifty years later) and buying/streaming their stuff. I don't know that a kid in 2036 is going to stumble on Taylor Swift and have that same kind of reaction.
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Unread 04-20-2016, 04:18 PM   #21
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Exactly.

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I have short hair, goob!
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Unread 04-20-2016, 05:18 PM   #22
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At 26 she's just entering her musical prime. I think she'll only get better as she edges into her early to mid 30s.
In principle, I agree.

In cynicism, I feel like mid 30s to 40s her looks based appeal will wane, and with it her popularity. We liked our male ageing rockers, but we don't tend to let female stars age as gracefully. Hopefully she manages to buck that trend.

The thing that surprises me according to that wiki link is how far ahead of her Rihanna is. I would have guessed Taylor to have more sales.
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Unread 04-20-2016, 08:08 PM   #23
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In principle, I agree. In cynicism, I feel like mid 30s to 40s her looks based appeal will wane, and with it her popularity. We liked our male ageing rockers, but we don't tend to let female stars age as gracefully. Hopefully she manages to buck that trend. The thing that surprises me according to that wiki link is how far ahead of her Rihanna is. I would have guessed Taylor to have more sales.
Rihanna is a hit single machine. Her current single is mostly gibberish and it's a hit.

As far as 30s Taylor goes...so far aging hasn't hurt her. I could see her maintaining a solid Madonna-like existence where no one I know will be buying her stuff but somehow she's still cranking moneymakers.
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Unread 04-21-2016, 05:31 AM   #24
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Rihanna is a hit single machine. Her current single is mostly gibberish and it's a hit.

As far as 30s Taylor goes...so far aging hasn't hurt her. I could see her maintaining a solid Madonna-like existence where no one I know will be buying her stuff but somehow she's still cranking moneymakers.
Do you think she'll maintain that for decades after she's gone? Some bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc...) are rediscovered by each generation and continue to produce interest. I dare say that some kid in 2099 will find one of those bands and fall madly in love with their music. Do you think the same can be said for today's pop stars?
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Unread 04-21-2016, 06:15 AM   #25
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In principle, I agree.

In cynicism, I feel like mid 30s to 40s her looks based appeal will wane, and with it her popularity. We liked our male ageing rockers, but we don't tend to let female stars age as gracefully. Hopefully she manages to buck that trend.

The thing that surprises me according to that wiki link is how far ahead of her Rihanna is. I would have guessed Taylor to have more sales.
Rihanna is ahead cause all she does is work, work, work, work, work, work

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Unread 04-21-2016, 07:18 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by mtlmouth View Post
How do we define "sales" in the streaming era? Is that going to remain a useful metric? When the Beatles were putting out new music, your options for listening to them on your own schedule were pretty much limited to buying records, so things were more quantifiable. The music industry is shifting away from that model, Swift's stand-off with Spotify notwithstanding.

On the other hand, the global music market has become more interconnected and more overseas sales are available. That works out well for Swift, but it makes the markets not really as comparable.
Yeah, this does make things tricky, but I'm sure someone out there has enough of a vested interest in these numbers to figure out a way to crunch them.

Lee's point is valid... She is very, very millennial, so her long-term rediscovery prospects might be lower than someone like the Beatles, but I think she'll pass them in sales before she stops making music, so I doubt that matters for my prediction.

Taylor Swift's biggest strengths, as I see it, are her skillful control over her own career and her understanding of her audience / generation. As she gets older, her fans will too, and if the past is any indication, she will again perfectly read what music they are wanting and perfectly coordinate things to deliver it.
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Unread 04-21-2016, 07:30 AM   #27
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Do you think she'll maintain that for decades after she's gone? Some bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc...) are rediscovered by each generation and continue to produce interest. I dare say that some kid in 2099 will find one of those bands and fall madly in love with their music. Do you think the same can be said for today's pop stars?
I think what those you've mentioned have is in some sense having steered the direction of music for years. Swift is catchy but I don't think she's done anything genre defining yet nobody wants to emulate her sound except in terms of success, because what she's put out, while catchy, isn't exactly groundbreaking.

Don't get me wrong I think she's got a great ear for pop music and I hope she does well for herself, but she may be the Fleetwood Mac of this generation. Her music will be huge in its day and will hold up to future listens, but nobody's rushing out to buy it when it's not fresh.
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Unread 04-21-2016, 08:54 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leboman
Do you think she'll maintain that for decades after she's gone? Some bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc...) are rediscovered by each generation and continue to produce interest. I dare say that some kid in 2099 will find one of those bands and fall madly in love with their music. Do you think the same can be said for today's pop stars?
I'm thinking along the lines of what Bob said. Maybe after she retires the Beatles will catch back up, but I think she has the potential to surpass the Beatles while she is an active performer.

I haven't looked at all the numbers, but 1989 and its related singles alone have moved somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million units. I realize it might be an outlier of success, but ultimately the question we're asking is whether or not the sales figures of 1989 can be duplicated five or six more times.
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Unread 04-21-2016, 06:28 PM   #29
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There is a very big reason why it won't happen: Streaming

Spotify increased their paid subscribers by 50% in just 6 months. And that was up against the launch of Apple Music. Listeners are increasingly shifting their listening that way and while keeping 1989 out of streaming worked well for Taylor Swift, at some point the balance will shift too far towards streaming and she will be forced to release future albums to streaming services.

Album sales lose ground every year and streaming only increases.
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Unread 04-21-2016, 09:13 PM   #30
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There is a very big reason why it won't happen: Streaming Spotify increased their paid subscribers by 50% in just 6 months. And that was up against the launch of Apple Music. Listeners are increasingly shifting their listening that way and while keeping 1989 out of streaming worked well for Taylor Swift, at some point the balance will shift too far towards streaming and she will be forced to release future albums to streaming services. Album sales lose ground every year and streaming only increases.
Forced? I don't think she'll do it unless it's a lucrative position for her to take. Her newest album was her most successful.
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