Taylor Swift named one of THR’s ‘Rule Breakers 2014′: deserving or blah?


Taylor Swift has been declared one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Rule Breakers 2014.” It might not seem like an obvious choice – after all, Taylor Swift is a perfect blonde Barbie doll of a girl, all sweetness and light and rule-abiding. But once I watched THR’s video of Swifty’s interview, I got it. It clicked. Tay-Tay IS a rule-breaker. She defied the music industry’s norms about what a young female artist could and should do with an album. She had to fight to promote her album the way she wanted, and she’s been waging a war to keep her music profitable. That’s the same war that led her to pull all of her music off of Spotify and write a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that music is worth something, financially. Here’s the video:

Again with the Kendrick Lamar love! And did you know that Kendrick is a Swift-loonie too? They met backstage at some event recently he thanked her for name-checking him in interviews and he sang some “Shake It off” for her. It was really sweet!

You guys have yelled at me before when I’ve said that I think Swifty is a marketing genius, but I don’t even care. I think she’s a really smart businesswoman and she has an otherworldly gift for marketing, branding and fan-management. And here’s something else: the fact that Swifty is taking on this fight – the Fight to Keep Musicians Rich – helps other artists too. It helps artists just starting out, it helps artists trying to get a foothold in the industry. And Swifty’s my-way-or-the-highway attitude helps a lot of young women in the industry fight for their own vision.

In the print interview, Swifty explained the aftermath of her decision to pull her music from Spotify, saying that she didn’t really think it would be a big deal, and that “I could never have expected so many text messages, emails and phone calls from other artists, writers and producers saying thank you.”


Photos courtesy of THR.

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32 Responses to “Taylor Swift named one of THR’s ‘Rule Breakers 2014′: deserving or blah?”

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  1. LadyMTL says:

    She’s actually growing on me and I agree that she’s really smart as far as her marketing goes. I can’t fault her for doing what it takes to keep her name and face out there, every celeb does it (some better than others). Would I call her a “rule breaker”? Maaaybe? Still, I’ll take her over one of the Kardashi-clan any day.

    Also, I do love the fact that she’s a cat lady! :D

    • Josephine says:

      I’ll give her this: She is one of the few young artists today who doesn’t feel the need to get naked or semi-naked to sell her music. I find that amazingly refreshing. I’m too old to be a fan, but I can appreciate that she looks and acts her age.

  2. Janet says:

    I love her style. She bugs the hell out of me for some reason but she’s never made a misstep yet on the red carpet.

    • Tristan says:

      She is UTTERLY annoying, irritating, bland, boring & dull. Her music is so equally bland, boring & dull it can be used as a sedative. Yes she is definitely a rule breaker. She has broken the rule that you need to be interesting, exciting & talented to make it big in pop music!

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        Marry me, Tristan. I am truly stupefied by your way with words. Take me to your castle and let me have my way with your vintage racecar. I promise I won’t take a bat to it with a demonic look on my face while setting roses on fire. Promise.

      • theoneandonly says:

        Yes, yes yes Tristan: Rule breaker, RIght! how much did she pay for that pr. She has simply used her money to manipulate just about every media to sell her crap; that’s not rule breaking, that’s actually desperation – if her “music” is so grand why can’t it stand on its own?

    • cheryl says:

      No, marry ME, Tristan! These pocket summaries are better than sweet nothings.

  3. Loopy says:

    Wow it seems she is swooping all of Bey’s awards in the final hour,this could have been awarded to her next year. Beyonce released a secret album and had a massive tour in the last 12 months.

    • Kate says:

      Beyonce’s surprise release was the best thing about her album. Not having any promo was the biggest promotion. That being said she didn’t have one hit. The album is great as a whole, but not one song is extraordinary by it self. Shake it off was an instant hit. I’m not a fan of Swift, but she makes catchy songs.

      • Amberica says:

        Yo yo yo imma let you finish, but…

      • Kate says:

        …but nothing.

      • Ugh, I can’t stand Taylor Swift’s music, but yesterday as I was making myself dinner, I start singing “Teardrops on my guitar”.

      • Veronica says:

        Eh, I wouldn’t say they weren’t a hit, but the album was heavily hip hop influenced, so the crossover appeal wasn’t as wide. The more explicit content also limits the age appropriateness of the album, whereas Taylor was able to expand her demographic while retaining her younger base. I’ll be curious too see if Beyoncé tones down the next album for exactly that reason.

  4. Dani2 says:

    I definitely agree that she’s amazing at how she markets herself – she’s one of those people who’s really understood how to completely win the loyalty of her fans – all the stuff she does, interacting with them on tumblr, leaving them personal messages on instagram, having secret listening sessions well before the release of her album, attending a fan’s bridal shower – all of it, she’s so aware of how she’s perceived in the media and I kinda love her for it. Who woulda thought seven to eight years ago that she’d be one of the biggest pop stars on the planet? The only person who I can say is on the same level as her is Beyonce.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      But the thing with her is that you kinda have to buy her girl wunderkind PR dogma from the getgo in order to find her terribly impressive. First, she was marketed as a child genius for penning “She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers” with the help of a paid adult, then came the “she’s a role model!” rollout, and now we are supposed to believe that a newly turned 25 year old with no college education has been at the helm of a million dollar empire pulling major business decisions with little to no input from people with MBAs who actually know what they’re talking about. I just don’t buy that she’s been fighting the good fight against record execs, either. Why would they try to sextify a winning formula with tweens, the biggest cash cow demographic? She’s very good at knowing how to massage the hands that feed her, and any adept politician or public figure is very good at that indeed.

    • Ava says:

      Not to get into but Beyonce’s not even close to Swift.
      Read the profile / cover New York mag did last year on Swift, a year before 1989 and states that Swift ( who was still country crossover) is the biggest pop star in the world and everyone else Perry , Timberlake , Beyonce only competing for second .
      Now with massive success 1989 that even more true today .

      Even before 1989 came out , Taylor was the most most downloaded artist the world with over 75 million songs, Beyonce not even in the same league .
      She had already two albums sell over a million copies the first week , Beyonce hasn’t even had one, her albums were pretty average sales , her secret album was the best selling first week of her career and still only sold 2.1 million since it’s release, Taylor 1989 2 months 2.9 million .

      The only one who is on her level album sales was Adele.
      Taylor for consecutive weeks a number one the last time was Beatle’s and now with back to back hits with 1989 she broken even more records .

      If any career is based on marketing it’s Beyonce’s , she hasn’t hit since ” singles ladies” 7 years and 2 albums ago, her sales album her average , she barely had her songs top40 , Taylor Swift in the last decade it’s had more top40 then any other artist.
      Beyonce never won the big awards , no album of the year, record, only once for won song of the year, while Taylor is the youngest artist in Grammy history to win album of the year, she won every music writing awards , in Nashville writing hall of fame for the most awards artist, music ward and was the youngest artist at just 14 to be hired writer by Sony music.

      And is the only female artist besides Madonna , who did later on in her career not 25 to do a stadium world tour .

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I never thought of it that way, in terms of her dictating her own image and all, but I have to agree with everything Kaiser said. I admit, my first thought was Miss White Bread is a rule breaker? Ha! But she is. Good for her.

  6. Holly says:

    Meh. That’s about as much emotion as she elicits from me.

  7. Izzy says:

    It would seem our Founding Fathers also thought artists’ works were worth something financially. Copyright law is derived from the Constitution itself. I thought Taylor Swift was actually spot-on (pun intended) when she decided to pull her music off Spotify.

    • Veronica says:

      I have no idea why she got do much backlash for that, either, but I had friends tell me it was a turn off and they found it greedy. I’m just like…most artists who aren’t big names make so little money off the actual album sales that I wouldn’t fault any of them for limiting access to it. Selling full albums is difficult enough as is in the iTunes generation, and programs like Spotify help maintain that “top hits” promo model that’s resulted in so many crap albums in the mainstream. In the end, it’s her music, she wrote it, owns it, and can choose to do as she pleases with it. We’re not actually entitled to that work, and I find Spotify’s downloadable content to be ethically spotty to begin with. Could people like Tay afford it? Sure. But I imagine independent or smaller name artists would take quite a hit from those discounted sales.

  8. Lucy2 says:

    Let’s call it the Fight to Keep Musicians Being Paid Fairly for Their Work. i think it’s important for every artist, and I’m glad someone with her position in the business is standing up for it. It be nice to see some of her high-profile friends follow suit.

  9. FreeSpiritedGirl says:

    I’m not a Swifty can but I have to admit that she is a very smart business woman. We need girls her.

  10. Kipi says:

    lol no.

  11. Veronica says:

    I think she’s definitely broken expectations of what pop artists are, if only because she’s demanded – and maintained! – control of her career, which is a big deal in an industry as heavily controlled as pop. She’s one of the few who has a say in how she sells herself and has a powerful voice and what she does with her music. It’s easy to look at the superficial aspect of her image and assume it’s relatable to Britney or Perry, but she’s really more like Beyonce in how she’s built her little empire. It’s a very interesting time in the pop industry when the two biggest powerhouses are women with a voice.

  12. vauvert says:

    She actually breaks the rules all right. Think about how most of the other female pop singers sell themselves, from the very young (Arianna can’t stand her Grande to JLo should know better than to be rubbed in oil and spread her buttocks apart on a stage). She does not do that. Sexy, yes, but not trying to look like a sex worker no matter what she does, whether it is a performance or just a pap walk in NY. (Except that one blue onsie at a recent awards show, she is spot on in the way she dresses, young, pretty, and no wardrobe mishaps.)
    Her interviews also demonstrate a level of professionalism that is rare. Compare her to Miley or KStew, and then read Swifty’s interviews. She may be snarky on occasion, but she stays on topic, is articulate and no bad language in an effort to shock or be cool.
    For a woman in her twenties, maturing in the spotlight, with her money and fame, she is amazing. No drunken bar crawls, no drug problems, never a sloppy mess. Hope she stays the course, it is nice to see a music star get ahead playing the game by her rules.

  13. Rachel says:

    Haters are going to hate. I like her more and more every time I hear her speak. 1989 is a great album.

  14. INeedANap says:

    I think the reason she is “allowed” to be a rule breaker is BECAUSE she’s this pretty, blonde, thin, sweet Barbie of a girl. Her brand management, which has been brilliantly executed, hinges on presenting herself as the perfect embodiment of non-threatening American femininity. If she looked or behaved differently, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • chocolate cake says:

      PREACH especially the non-threatening part. I mean look at vauvert’s passage on the wrong sexy thus sex worker, a profession where some women (not all) choose to do with their bodies what they want vs sweet accessible sexy. One musnt be too vampy so that you will look like you’ll steal my man or intimidate me as a man (hello madonna, grace jones). You must be pretty sexy

  15. Lucy says:

    Say what you will about her, but she really is all those things Kaiser said.