The Lover Era
Taylor finished the 2010s in a totally different realm of the music world from where she started. Her crossover from country to pop — hinted at on 2012’s RED and fully embraced on 2014’s 1989 — reflected a mainstream era in which genres were blended with little abandon, where artists with roots in country, folk and trap music could join forces without anyone raising eyebrows.
Taylor’s seventh studio album Lover, released in August of 2019, was both a warm break from the darkness of reputation (2017) — which was created during a wave of negative press generated by her public clash with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian — as well as an amalgam of all her stylistic explorations through the years, from dreamy synth-pop to hushed country. “The skies were opening up in my life,” said Taylor of the album, which garnered three Grammy nominations, including “Song Of The Year” for the title track.
Table of Contents
Pop's Finest Songwriter
Lover Fest: Taylor's Own Festival
The Equality Act
Re-Recording Her First Six Albums
Taylor said that she intended to re-record her first six albums starting in November of 2020, when she was contractually able to in order to regain control of her recordings. Because of that announcement, Borchetta and Braun wanted to block Taylor from performing her past hits at her “Artist of the Decade” ceremony at the American Music Awards in November, 2019. Furthermore, they blocked her from using recordings of her songs in her 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana.
The battle over her masters was the latest in a series of moves that had turned Taylor into something of an advocate for artists’ rights — and made her a cause that everyone from Halsey to Elizabeth Warren rallied behind. From 2014 to 2017, Taylor withheld her catalog from Spotify to protest the streaming company’s compensation rates, saying in a 2014 interview, “There should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify.” In 2015, ahead of the launch of Apple Music, Taylor wrote an open letter criticizing Apple for its plan to not pay royalties during the three-month free trial it was set to offer listeners; the company announced a new policy within 24 hours. Most recently, when she signed a new global deal with Universal Music Group in 2018, Taylor (who was now on Republic Records) said one of the conditions of her contract was that UMG share proceeds from any sale of its Spotify equity with its roster of artists — and make them nonrecoupable against those artists’ earnings.
Artist of the Decade
As Billboard named Taylor the “Woman of the Decade”, she expressed hope that she can help make the lives of creators a little easier in the years to come — and a belief that her behind-the-scenes strides will be as integral to her legacy as her biggest singles. “New artists and producers and writers need work, and they need to be likable and get booked in sessions, and they can’t make noise — but if I can, then I’m going to,” Taylor promised. This is where being impossibly famous can be a very good thing. “I know that it seems like I’m very loud about this,” she said, “but it’s because someone has to be.”
Taylor continued to use her platform and her art for good after finding her own voice and not staying silent anymore, as explained in her documentary Miss Americana, detailing her tumultuous life in the past decade and her fight against sexism in the music industry. So at the end of 2019, the American Music Awards rightfully crowned Taylor “Artist of the Decade.” Hated but also very beloved, even long after the 2010s, no one could ever possibly say, “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway?’’