Saturday, 21 June 2014

Country Music needs Taylor Swift more than she does

How Taylor Swift helped to raise the profile on country music

Taylor leaving Country Music to make a "Swift" exit, well possibly?

This Blog post is an answer to the Saving Country article which has been circulating on the internet which has met with very mixed opinions with some country “fans” claiming Taylor Swift was never a country artist in the first place!
We take a look at her career achievements, praise from others and how she helped to raise the profile of country music on an international level.

Why you Gotta Be So Mean?
Taylor Swift  Performed "Mean" at  the 46th Annual ACM Awards April 2011

I think one of the things that I’m happiest with, in the last year, is the acceptance level in country music for me experimenting and for me trying to evolve and challenge myself musically," Taylor Swift explained. "I think it’s never felt better to be on that stadium stage performing knowing that everyone’s been so welcoming of change." (Country Aircheck News)

Taylor Swift is a pop singer. But she really helped country music. When she hit, I was thinking, Thank God Taylor’s out there to show people we’re not cheesy. Some people still think that country music is twangy and cheesy, and they pigeonhole us. But I thought if they’re looking for Taylor’s videos or songs, they might see or hear other people they like. If her fans are watching for her, they might like me too.”  - Miranda Lambert (quoted interview with W Magazine 2012)

"I like Taylor Swift. I like listening to her …I kind of like watching her respond to all the attacks. I like the ways she's defining herself” - Neil Young (Quoted from a June 2011 press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame - Neil Young Gives Props to Taylor Swift )

Taylor Swift has straddled a thin line between country and pop music up until 2012′s RED, which more or less marked the completion of her transformation from a country songstress to an International Pop superstar cumulating in 5 sold out shows on her RED Tour at London’s iconic O2 Arena on Feb. 1-2, 4, 10-11, 2014 grossing $5,829,240 when playing to 74,740 fans as a headliner in her own right (previously in the US she has opened for country stars Keith Urban, George Strait and Kenny Chesney)
In terms of the American market there were enough songs on RED to qualify as a “Country” release whilst in the UK the album and previous set FEARLESS were discounted from the Official UK Country chart , although several tracks still continue to sprinkle the Top 20 UK Country iTunes Singles chart (currently “I Knew You Were Trouble” is #12) at a time when Taylor has been absent from any Billboard charts the last 4 weeks.

RED has been deemed a huge commercial success yet it is her worst selling album to date. It was the saving grace for country music sales in the last quarter of 2012 with 1 in 5 albums purchased was a RED one! After its Oct 22, 2012 release by week 9 it had sold 275,508 copies (+25%) with a 2,866,047 total by Dec 27th.
Singles “Begin Again” reached #3, title cut “Red” #7 and “All Too Well” peaked at  #58  US Billboard Country Airplay charts with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" having a very long 10 week No.1, on Hot Country Songs Chart giving her the third-longest reign since the methodology makeover. Other singles released charted well away from country on the all genre Hot 100 chart.

Taylor Swift dividing opinion
It was the single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that seemed to result in a backlash from the country purists. Some UK country DJ’s starting referring to the Billboard Country Airplay chart top 5 and away from Hot Country Songs as a result. 
Listeners comments could be heard complaining about having to hear it – “More James Hand and less Taylor Swift, guess who thought the Taylor Swift track was awful and nothing to do with country” was a typical response from a nostalgic traditional fan on Keith Greentree’s BBC Radio Norfolk show who himself said -  “Stay, Stay" that was the most country'ish track I could find on there, I think she's gone teeny-bopper, that's up to her” with Steve Cherelle on BBC Radio Essex after spinning "WANEGBT" as the #1 one song saying "some of them are fabulous and others AREN'T”.

There are still some local BBC country presenters who have never played Taylor and several were a year behind BBC Radio 2’s Alex Lester in introducing her to their country audience mostly via the single >> “Love Story”, somewhat reluctantly, rather like them having to make a trip to the dentist.

Taylor is ranked #81 on BBC Radio 1 (specialising in current popular music and chart hits) with 1,126 spins with Swift's Electro-pop dubstep experimentation “I Knew You Were Trouble” (a #2 UK Single) receiving the most spins (273) followed by Pop/ Country “ We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (UK #4 single) 248 spins and country/pop smash hit “Love Story” (UK #2 Single) getting 167 plays. "Love Story" has sales of over 8 million copies sold.

On the nations “most Listened too” station BBC Radio 2 (current audience 15.2 million; broadcasting of general musical genres) Taylor ranks at #98 with 634 spins with “Love Story” coming out top with 158 plays followed by “Red” (154). Her must recent playlisting was >> “Everything Has Changed” feat. Ed Sheeran (#7 UK Single) which they made Record of the Week in June 2013.
Taylor with Bob (centre) , Trudy (L) & Miles Harris (R)
Nashville Bridgestone Concert - Sept 2013

BBC Radio 2’s “country king” Bob Harris (OBE) has played Taylor’s songs 15 times, six of which were part of a live Radio 2 broadcasts concert at Abbey Road in 2011. 

Since the release of her Country/Country Pop eponymous debut in Oct 24, 2006 (#81 UK album) it took Harris over 2 years to play her with “Our Song” on his 6th Nov 2008 show then a 3 year gap till he played “Mean” from SPEAK NOW (#6 UK album) and “Ours” live from the recorded CMA Awards. 
In Oct 6, 2013 Bob described  Taylor Swift's massive Nashville RED Tour concert at the Bridgestone Arena as "Spectacular, spectacular stuff" and that “The Taylor Swift concert - one of my favourite gigs ev-ER! - Image  
He became friends with Tay’s label head / Big Machine’s CEO with this tweet:
 Bob Harris @WhisperingBob  My friend @scottborchetta Twitter Pic

RED has to date spent 70 weeks on Official UK Albums Top 100 and Taylor’s building of an International profile has helped to raise country music’s brand and commercial sales in territories away from America. It has sparked visits from major name country league players such as Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Brad Paisley and Eric Church. Before the C2C Country To Country 2014 London 2 day festival in their article “Detwanging country music: how Nashville took the UK” The Guardian newspaper wrote:
“Thanks to Taylor Swift, TV show Nashville and Radio 2, country music has never been more popular in Britain”. Bob Harris making reference to a bias to a more younger audience at the festival has referring to it as a “Tipping Point Moment” and that the “switch has been flicked

According to a new story in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, Swift's label head Scott Borchetta admitted she's working with Martin on her fifth studio album, and that he worked on "most of" the effort and that it continues her pop transformation.
"Taylor fans are going to love it," said Borchetta. "Will country stations play a complete pop song because it's her? No. But when she comes to town, her friends at country radio will come and see her."
Halifax, Yorkshire born and Framlingham, Suffolk native pop star Ed Sheeran who had the privilege of joining the crossover artist for her Red Tour for six months says we can expect a lot of just Swift on her upcoming album - “I don’t think she’s teamed up with anyone; I think she did it all on her own,” he told MTV, adding, “It’s really good.” Sheeran says that fans shouldn’t expect her new music to be a ‘Red’ Part II — “she’s growing and evolving into something different”. “She has to evolve,” he explains. “If she makes another ‘Red’ everyone will be like, ‘It sounds like ‘Red.’‘ But she’s evolved and I think it’s a positive step.”
Taylor recently said wrote quoting author C.S. Lewis: "There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." With a 5th studio album in the works she said it is - "already my favorite thing that I’ve ever created 
Country Music's biggest names honour Taylor Swift

Perhaps Taylor’s presentation with the Pinnacle Award during the 2013 The 47th Annual CMA Awards was a first step of her departure from the country “genre” and the country industry way of thanking her for what she has done and achieved.

Fans who were hoping that the Top 40 friendly Red was just a phase for Tay might be disappointed by her upcoming fifth studio album, with a hinting that the “Love Story” artists record could be her poppiest work to date.

American based Country Music blog Saving Country Music (Which promote and disseminate information about REAL country music) has run with a Taylor Swift Leaving Country Music? posting: Welp, that’s that. Gauging from the comments made in Rolling Stone‘s current country music special edition by the CEO of Big Machine Records aka the Country Music Antichrist Scott Borchetta, we can now put a period at the end of Taylor Swift’s pop country career. Finito. Done. End of story. Taylor Swift’s country run is in the books, and she’s now a pop star exclusively....there’s no guarantee country music is willing to play ball with Taylor Swift’s departure…Country music needs Taylor Swift, and it will be unwilling to forfeit the opportunity to have her sales and touring force fall under its umbrella without a fight. If Taylor Swift is truly leaving country, it’s hard to declare a victory for country music here, or for Taylor Swift. Without the support of country, and with the presence of Max Martin, there’s likely going to be a lot less trophies adorning Taylor’s mantle. At the same time Taylor Swift is now free to do what she wants …. or what Max Martin wants to do with her. Read more at Saving Country
These are some of the comments to the article:
  • She had the opportunity to be a respected country artist. When pop is sick of her she better not come crawling back to the genre that she rode to the top and dirted.
  • An artist can be bigger than a genre, but the country genre certainly doesn’t need Taylor Swift anymore than they needed Hank Sr. or Patsy Cline when they died.
  • My big inquiry is, was Swift ever truly Country? I do not claim to be a connoisseur to her music, but from my limited exposure to her, she fits in to the modern diva country formula: She’s extremely kind to the eyes, and she has a sweet voice. But such was Faith Hill. I saw no “country” in her music either.
  • I’ve been a country music fan since 2006, I was 16 back then. Truthfully, country music is more a community recently than it has been a genre. Taylor provided the much needed boost in country music. I went to her concert in Indonesia, and I was awed with her performance of the Grammy award winning song “Mean
Here in the UK the article was shared by Internet radio station with their listeners weighing in (read all the Facebook comments here:
  • She was never country to begin with. she was a major catalyst in the downfall of real country.
  • Promise ? Not country to me , don't think I will miss her at all.
  • Was never country in the first place now hopefully real country singers will get recognition.
  • Her idea of country as well as the rest of Nashville is not my idea of country so I won't miss her
  • Who labelled her country in the first place?
  • She never was country.
  • Happy wooooppppp
 When her 5th album is released, and if she is no longer tagged as “country” in America, the country album sales, already down by 25% so far in 2014 will look in a truly sorry state by the year end and without a single album released in 2014, charting on the Billboard Country album frames, able to sell 1-million copies.
Taylor has driven the sales of albums and singles, country news, graced the covers of countless magazines, been the TV audience biggest draw at the country awards and generously donated to numerous causes. Despite all this most times certain “country fans” continue to throw dirt from back roads in her direction, with some comments very abusive and happens on numerous occasions the popular website  Taste Of Country  post anything concerning her!      

Taylor, Lady A are often cited by the younger UK country acts and newcomers as an influence and inspiration.
Hail Taylor”! Back in America Memphis native Lucy Hale a newcomer to country music, venturing from her successful acting career into her greatest passion: music. She praises country star Taylor Swift for pioneering the path that Hale’s now walking, saying the ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ singer made it all right to talk about your problems.  “Taylor’s untouchable. She made country quote-unquote ‘cool.’

Country needs Taylor more than she needs a Country home
24-year old (Born Dec 13, 1989) Miss Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Wyomissing, Pa., but had Nashville dreams in her sight by age 11. That year, she delivered demos to every major label on Music Row, but no one would give her a shot … until Scott Borchetta called at age 15. He signed her to his fledgling Big Machine Records label, and they released “Tim McGraw” in June 2006.
As a 16-year-old she made her Country Music Awards debut with a >> poignant ode to love in the time of Tim McGraw. Transitioning into the song's bridge, she then walked into the crowd and serenades McGraw and wife Faith Hill with the final chorus. Concluding with an introduction, she sticks out her hand and says "Hi, I'm Taylor."
Success didn’t take long. Swift’s third single "Love Story" was her first No.1, and since then, every release except one has gone Platinum. She’s sold over 20 million records worldwide while becoming the most successful touring artist in country music.

Faith Hill's 'Behind the Music' inspired Taylor to pursue country music and includes her in her top 3 music idols along with Shania Twain and Tom Petty. She says because they’re all authentically who they are.
"My favorite person in Nashville is Faith Hill," Swift told Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. "She's been my idol since I saw her on both VH1 and CMT when I was about 10. I loved how she was taking country music to bigger audiences, and her grace in the spotlight. Since I put out my first album, Faith has been a welcoming and warm presence in my life, time after time. She sends flowers on my birthday and sent me cookies when I got sick."

Taylor Swifts Country Music Achievements

  • (Feb 2007) - Just a year previous, Taylor Swift was sitting in her high school classes, hoping the day would come when she would be a recording artist. As a 17-year-old she received a GOLD album plaque, which recognizes sales reaching the 500-thousand mark, for her self-titled debut CD at a party in Nashville. During the event the then “country newcomer” admitted that she turned down her label's offer to do something to mark the release of the album, opting instead to wait until she had a more significant milestone to commemorate. It didn't take long for Swift's album to earn a Gold certification,. She released the disc, which features her breakthrough single "Tim McGraw," in late October 2006. The singer has been promoting her album on the road as an opening act on George Strait's tour.
  • Taylor Swift was the top ranking country artist on MySpace.
  • She became the only female artist in country music history to write or co-write every song on a platinum selling debut.
  • Although only 17, she toured with Brad Paisley and joined Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's "Soul2Soul 2007" tour for several dates.
  • (10th June 2007) Her self-titled debut album was certified PLATINUM by the RIAA. The country music sensation was surprised with an official Platinum plaque presented by RIAA Sr. Director of Artist & Industry Relations John Henkel at CMA Music Festival on Sunday, June 10th. The presentation took place at the Big Machine Records booth so that Taylor could share the special moment with her fans.
  • Her debut single, "Tim McGraw", became a Top 5 Country hit and a GOLD selling digital single.
  • AOL Music lists Taylor as the "Hottest Female" in country music today
  • (8 Nov 2007) Taylor won the Country Music Association (CMA) Horizon Award.
  • She began a six-week reign on the Billboard Country Airplay chart with “Our Song” from the chart dated Dec. 22, 2007
  • She was the top selling albums artist for all genres with 4,003,000 albums sold.
  • "Love Story" became Swift's first number one on Billboard Pop Songs, marking the highest peak by a country song on the chart since Shania Twain's "You're Still the One". September 12, 2008.
  • (CALGARY, Alberta  9 July 2009) Taylor Swift doesn't care if people think of her as pop or country or what-not. She told the Calgary Herald that when she writes a song, she doesn't "think about genre, or what radio station would play it." Instead, she says the only thing she thinks about is the person she's "writing the song to." Swift says for her, "music is very confessional." She said she uses it to say things she "would be afraid to say to someone's face." And, she said she thought "the feeling of needing to tell someone something is a universal feeling."
  • (3 Aug 2009) Her two albums, TAYLOR SWIFT and FEARLESS spent 20 weeks at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums sales chart. The only other country artists to have achieved the feat were Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.
  • (August 21, 2009) FEARLESS earned 14 gold and platinum certifications around the world. The album approached quadruple-platinum status in the U.S. for shipments of 4 million units. In addition, was certified triple-platinum in Australia (210,000 units) and Canada (240,000), as well as platinum in Singapore (12,000), New Zealand (15,000), Ireland (15,000), Indonesia (150,000), Malaysia (20,000) and Taiwan (14,000). Gold certifications came from the United Kingdom (double gold for 200,000), Norway (15,000), South Africa (20,000), Hong Kong (15,000) and the Philippines (15,000).
  • Swift was scheduled to perform at Wembley Arena in London on Nov 23rd.
  • (13 Nov 2009) Country Music Assn. voters largely turned their back on tradition in anointing the teenage country-pop star Taylor and a whole slate of relative newcomers with most of its top honors at the CMA Awards ceremony in Nashville.
    The CMA bypassed long-serving veterans including George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban in selecting Swift the youngest recipient ever of its top honor, Entertainer of the Year, an award meant for the musician who exhibits the most impressive all-around performance during the preceding year. By that criteria, it was hard to argue with their choice: The 19-year-old had sold more than 10 million albums in the three years since she released her debut, making her the biggest thing in country and pop music. Swift won all four categories in which she was nominated, taking home trophies for Album of the Year (FEARLESS) , Female Vocalist and Music Video (“Love Story”). She also took home a fifth
    trophy at the 43rd Annual Country Music Association Awards when Brooks & Dunn presented her with International Artist Achievement Award. (Previous recipients for the honour included Keith Urban, Dwight Yoakam, Dixie Chicks). "What Taylor has done for country music inside the United States is amazing in itself, but what she has done for the format internationally is outstanding," Tammy Genovese, the CMA's CEO, stated. "She recognizes the importance of taking her music around the globe, and in doing so, has become a  phenomenal ambassador for country music. She is very deserving of this award."
  • (Nov 22, 2009) Taylor Swift took home five awards at the American Music Awards including Artist of the Year. She also won favourite female artist in the pop/rock and country categories, country album and adult-contemporary artist.
  • She grabbed 8 Grammy nominations and launched her own headlining tour after opening for Keith Urban.
  • She ended the year with the best-selling album of 2009  (Susan Boyle put up a strong challenge) as FEARLESS (released Nov 11, 2008) sold 3.2 million copies in America during 2009.
  • (Jan 2010) Named as the top-selling digital artist in history with over 24 million digital tracks sold.
    (31 Jan 2010) At
     52nd Annual Grammy Awards in the country categories FEARLESS won Album Of The Year (beating off George Strait's "Twang," Zac Brown Band's "The Foundation," Keith Urban's "Defying Gravity" and Lee Ann Womack's "Call Me Crazy.")  Taylor’s "White Horse” (co-written with Liz Rose) won Best country song (beating out All I Ask For Anymore  (Trace Adkins), High Cost Of Livin (Jamey Johnson); I Run To You  (Lady Antebellum) and People Are Crazy  (Billy Currington). She also won Best Female Country Vocal solo for “White Horse”.
  • (March 19) Six-times-platinum FEARLESS was recognized as the most-awarded album in the history of country music at a private dinner in Nashville. The disc was the only album in history to win the all-genre Album of The Year Grammy, plus Country Album of the Year Awards from the Grammys, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the American Music Awards.
  • Representatives from NARAS, The American Music Awards, The Country Music Association, and the Academy of Country Music all joined Big Machine Records Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta for a group presentation honouring Swift for her achievement. Swift was also honoured for: More than 13 million in total record sales; More than 25 million digital downloads; The 6X platinum (6 million) certification of "Fearless" as the number 1 selling album in the U.S. in both 2008 and 2009; The 5X platinum (5 million) certification of "Taylor Swift" and the #1 and #2 positions atop Nielsen's BDS 2009 Top 10 Most Played Songs chart (all genres), with You Belong With Me and Love Story.
  • (June 13, 2010) Held a 13-hour meet and greet with her fans, about 10,000 came through at the event during the Country Music Association Music Festival, the Swift event was free and open to the public.
  • (Sept 2010) FEARLESS was not only Platinum in the US but it also went platinum in Canada, Russia & Australia.
  • (Nov 3, 2010) Taylor Swift's third album cracked the million-unit mark during its first week of sale in the United State. It was the biggest opening tally in more than five years with the country-pop star selling 1,047,000 copies of SPEAK NOW (released Oct 25, 2010) during the week ended October 31. It  logged the second-largest sales week of any country album since 1991. Only Garth Brooks' 1998 effort "Double Live" moved more, when it started with 1,085,000. Thus, Swift also achieved the biggest sales week of any female country act since 1991. Previously, the high-water mark was set by fellow crossover diva Shania Twain when her "Up!" started with 874,000 at No. 1 in 2002.
  •  (December 7, 2010) SPEAK NOW was certified triple platinum by the RIAA, signifying sales of 3 million units.
  • (March) Taylor Swift had officially sold over 20 Million albums, 10 million of which were sold in previous 18 months a huge industry milestone! Her achievement was announced just before the sold-out final show in London, wrapping up the overseas leg of her massively successful Speak Now World Tour 2011.
  • (March 29, 2011) Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers were to receive special honours from the Academy of Country Music. Swift will be given the Jim Reeves International Award for her contributions to the acceptance of country throughout the world. The 5th Annual ACM Honors took place on Sept. 19, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.
  • (April) Taylor won Entertainer of The Year at  2011 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards and performed >> “Mean” live 
  • (June 2011) She  invited nine newer guys in country music to open for her on her Speak Now tour.  She chose Hunter Hayes (then aged 19) , Frankie Ballard, Charlie Worsham, David Nail, Adam Brand, Randy Montana, James Wesley, Danny Gokey and Josh Kelley after surfing MySpace and Facebook pages and the new artist lists on record label websites.  She went with her gut feeling and she says they all “have songs about relationships and love that pulled me in.”
·    (24 June 2011) During a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame, rock legend Neil Young confessed his fascination for his fellow songwriter. "I like Taylor Swift. I like listening to her," Neil said. "I kind of like watching her respond to all the attacks. I like the ways she's defining herself. So I keep my eye on it." Much like Taylor, who has experienced an unprecedented level of crossover success, Neil prefers to push boundaries creatively, and resists the industry's desire to pigeonhole him into one particular genre. "I don't like boundaries," said the 'Harvest Moon' singer.
  • (1 Sept 2011) Taylor donated $150,000 to the Tuscaloosa City Schools' Disaster Relief Fund to benefit the schools impacted by the April 27th tornado. She raised the money by opening the final dress rehearsal of her "Speak Now" summer tour in May to fans as a fund-raiser for the victims of the storm.
  • (Sept 7, 2011) She was named the recipient of the 2011 Harmony Award, which is presented annually by the Nashville Symphony to an individual who exemplifies the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s thriving musical community. "We are proud to call our home Music City, and Taylor Swift is the perfect person to receive this award, because she has contributed so tremendously to promoting this amazing community of which we are all a part," said Alan Valentine, CEO/President of the Nashville Symphony. At their 27th annual Symphony Ball on Saturday, Dec 10th  Scott Borchetta, owner of Big Machine Records, gave a heartfelt tribute to Swift, which inspired a standing ovation for the artist as she stepped forward to receive the award. (see Photo)
  • (Nov 2011) Taylor Swift won the top award at Country Music Association Awards, earning the coveted Entertainer of the Year honour (presented to her by Reba McEntire). She became the second woman to win Entertainer twice at the CMAs, joining Barbara Mandrell. She beat out Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban for the 2011 title.
  • Taylor and Adele dominated the 2011 American Music Awards walking away with three trophies each. The “Love Story hit maker” ruled the country music categories, taking home the Favourite Female Artist accolade and Favourite Album for Speak Now, as well as the coveted Artist of the Year honour.
Generation Award
  • According to the People’s Choice Awards website she won for Favorite Country Artist
  • (Jan 2012) SPEAK NOW was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA for shipments of 4 million units.
  • (Feb 12, 2012) At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards ‘Mean’ (written by Taylor Swift) won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance
  • Taylor a native of Wyomissing did her part to encourage literacy among the youth of America donating 2000 books to the early literacy program at Reading Hospital Child Health Center’s the hospital in which she was born. In 2011 she donated 14,000 books to the Nashville Public Library, which were placed in circulation and gifted to low-income families.
  • Taylor Swift‘s ‘Ronan’ and Tim McGraw‘s ‘Live Like Your Were Dying’ were two of the select songs performed during a ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ TV special. Both country stars were clearly moved by the overwhelmingly emotional hour of television.
  • (Sept 9, 2012) at the Canadian Country Music Awards 2012 Taylor was a gracious recipient of the first-ever Generation Award, given to an artist who has pushed country music into new territory - Blog Link
  • With 10 weeks non-consecutive weeks at  No.1, on Hot Country Songs Chart  Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (released August 13, 2012) boasts the third-longest reign since the methodology makeover starting from the chart frame issued Oct 20, 2010.
  • In Nov she performed >> “Begin Again” with one of the top highlights at the 2012 CMA Awards.
  • She toured throughout 2011 and early 2012 in support of SPEAK NOW Tour. As part of the thirteen-month, 111-date world tour, Swift played seven shows in Asia, twelve shows in Europe, 80 shows in North America and twelve shows in Australasia. Swift invited many musicians to join her for one-off duets during the North American tour (Included James Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Selena Gomez, Nelly, Flo Rida to country artists Ronnie Dunn, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney)
  • She sold more than 1.2 million copies of her album RED (released Oct 22, 2012) in its first week out. Q4 2012 sales was bolstered by the release of RED album and Jason Aldean’s Night Train, which added a combined 4.1 million to 2012’s quarterly country albums total.
  • (June 2013) "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "22" weren’t Swift's most country-ish hits, but her fans and the country music community remain loyal. I think one of the things that I’m happiest with, in the last year, is the acceptance level in country music for me experimenting and for me trying to evolve and challenge myself musically," she explained. "I think it’s never felt better to be on that stadium stage performing knowing that everyone’s been so welcoming of change." (Country Aircheck News)
  • Taylor taught a generation of kids to appreciate country music over the last five years. She donated $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to make sure that education continues. The gift was the largest given to the museum by an artist and the second largest from an individual, officials said. It will fund the Taylor Swift Education Center, an exhibit and classroom space scheduled to open in 2014. Taylor has a long history with the Country Music Hall of Fame, she signed her record contract there, in 2005, as a teenager, and gave one of her first public performances on the buildings plaza.
  • (Nov) Taylor Swift was presented with the Pinnacle Award during “The 47th Annual CMA Awards” . It recognizes an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence through concert performances and record sales at levels unique in Country Music. The artist has also attained the highest degree of recognition within the broad expanse of music worldwide. The artist’s talent and presence will have a long-term positive impact on the appreciation of Country Music for generations to come. The award created in 2005 and had only been given to one other artist: Garth Brooks. She also performed a specially arranged acoustic version of >> "Red" with Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss.
  • Taylor Swift and George Strait were among big winners at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York held on Nov 14th. The Top Package Award, honouring the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill, went to  Swift’s Red Tour. The arena tour featured such acts as Ed Sheeran, Joel Crouse, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line and Casey James.
  • (Dec 6, 2013) Taylor Swift grabbed nominations 56th Annual Grammy Awards in the Album of the Year and Best country album categories. Her song "Begin Again" was up for Best country song and she was nominated for best country duo/group performance category, thanks to "Highway Don't Care" recorded with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.
  •  (Dec.13) On Taylor's 24th birthday, the acclaimed star donated $100,000 to the Nashville Symphony, which had undergone some financial difficulties during the past year. "I would not be the same kind of person without Nashville," Taylor told The Tennessean. "It has shaped me into who I am."
  • (Dec 29) She was named Tennessean of the Year by Nashville's daily newspaper for her generosity to the city and her positive role-model image as the main reasons for her selection.
  • The North American leg of Swift's Red Tour ran from March to September 2013. She played 66 dates across North America, including 13 stadium shows. The Red Tour visited stadiums across New Zealand and Australia in December 2013, and visited England (London’s O2) and Germany in February 2014. The tour finished with a six-date Asian leg in June 2014. She invited special guests such as Carly Simon, Tegan and Sara, Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, Cher Lloyd, Gary Lightbody and country artists Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts and Hunter Hayes joined her in Nashville.
(Feb 20, 2014) Although nominated RED didn't win at the Grammys or the Country Music Assn. Awards the album accomplished topping the 4 million mark in U.S. sales. All four of Taylor Swift's studio albums have reached that threshold:
Swift's eponymous debut album has sold 5,419,000 copies since its release in 2006.
"Fearless" has sold 6,818,000 copies since its release in 2008.
"Speak Now" has sold 4,405,000 since its release in 2010.
Swift is just the third artist to top the 4-million mark with his or her first four studio albums since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991. She follows Garth Brooks (who did it with his first five non-holiday studio albums) and Eminem. Swift's achievement is all the more remarkable because the album sales market has been shaky throughout her career. By contrast, it was strong when Brooks released his first album in 1989.

All 5 of Swift’s albums to chart on Billboard Country Album charts are now Billboard Catalog Titles 

Catalog Chart History - Taylor Swift:

BB200 = Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.
1. The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (44 weeks, Peak #1, Years on chart 2008-13) (BB200: 4 weeks, Peak #46, Debut year 2007)
2. TAYLOR SWIFT (115 weeks, Peak #3, Years on chart 2010-2014) (Released Oct 24, 2006; BB200: 176 weeks, Peak #5 after a #19 debut, Debut year 2006; first week sales [chart Nov 11, 2006] 39,062 copies). Note: In the UK it sold only 38 copies the week of its release date, and peaked 94 weeks later at #81(12/09/2009) and has spent 3 weeks on the Official UK Album Chart.
3. FEARLESS (108 weeks, Peak #3, Years on chart 2011-13) (Released Nov 11, 2008; BB200: 116 weeks, Peak #1, Debut year 2008; first week sales [chart Nov 29, 2008] 592,304 copies (129,000 copies were digital) )
4. SPEAK NOW (44 weeks, Peak #2, Years on chart 2012-13) (Released Oct 25, 2010; BB200: 81 weeks, Peak #1, Debut year 2010; first week sales [chart Nov 13, 2010] 1,046,718 copies)
5. RED (1 week, Peak #45, Years on chart 2014) (Released Oct 22, 2012; BB200: 78 weeks, Peak #1, Debut year 2012; first week sales [chart Oct 31, 2012] 1,208,290 copies) Worldwide sales for RED at the end of 2013 were 5,707,000.

The combined country music sales both digital and physical are so far 25% down on 2013 with nearly half the year gone 
Will we see a Swift exit from the Country music scene (who now it seems is tenuously tied to the genre despite, going full circle (with a chart-topping duet with her idol Tim McGraw) when official news regarding her 5th studio album breaks?
In March 2013 when someone [Adam Levine: "I don't think Taylor Swift is really a country artist anymore”] tried to call Taylor Swift more of a pop artist than a country singer, Blake Shelton jumped to the defence of the genre: 
We take ownership of Taylor Swift in country music.”
The question might be for now long?
 If she does the Country industry has a lot to thank her for visa-versa.
She brought country music to people who might never have listened to it otherwise,  don’t like the “twang” but just like what they hear.
Country music, in its purest form, should maybe not defined by its sound. It is defined by the fact that the songs tell stories, which numerous of Miss Taylor's songs do.

Note: The word “country” appears 157 times in this article. 

No comments:

Post a Comment