WBEZ | Taylor Swift http://www.wbez.org/tags/taylor-swift Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en So you want to be a famous musician? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/so-you-want-be-famous-musician-107318 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TYSEGALL.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="File: Garage rocker Ty Segall. (L.A. Record/Rachel Carr)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">On May 15, prolific noise rocker <a href="http://ty-segall.com" target="_blank">Ty Segall</a> announced that he will be releasing a&nbsp;<a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/50747-ty-segall-announces-new-album-sleeper/" target="_blank">new album</a>&nbsp;this August&nbsp;called <em>Sleeper</em>: his seventh solo record and first 2013 addition to an impressive discography of over <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ty_Segall#Discography" target="_blank">35 releases</a>&nbsp;(both solo and collaborative) since 2005.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But while some people idolize the 26-year-old <a href="http://pitchfork.com/features/cover-story/8996-ty-segall/" target="_blank">garage-punk prodigy</a>&nbsp;from San Francisco&nbsp;(his name was even <a href="https://twitter.com/HeyWhoreHey_/status/334700628720889856" target="_blank">trending on Twitter</a>&nbsp;on the day of his announcement via Pitchfork), others still have no idea who he is.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Segall exists in an odd bubble of half-fame and half-obscurity, in which he can play to sold-out venues across the country and still hang out in local record stores without being bothered too much. Unfortunately, most aspiring rock stars won&#39;t even get that far.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>The digital age is both a blessing and a curse for modern-day musicians. Websites like YouTube and Kickstarter can equal big business for artists, as online campaigns allow them to reach out to their fans directly via socia networking and potentially become viral sensations overnight.</p><p>On the other hand, free music streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora provide little financial yield for the musicians themselves (<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2012/09/26/161758720/how-musicians-make-money-by-the-fraction-of-a-cent-on-spotify" target="_blank">$0.004 per play</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;re unsigned) and cannot be relied upon to cover the ever-mounting costs of travel, instruments and gear, recording sessions and software, album distribution and any additional publicity required to become a household name.&nbsp;</p><p>Also, it should be noted that unless you&#39;re playing sold-out ampitheatres á la Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber, ticket sales won&#39;t net you a fortune either.</p><p>Lots of musicians get a jumpstart due to wealth or family connections, like when Taylor Swift&#39;s <a href="http://tasteofcountry.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-taylor-swift-2/" target="_blank">investment broker </a>father spent millions of dollars to finance her first album in 2006 and when Lana Del Rey&#39;s<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Del_Rey" target="_blank"> millionare parents </a>bought her out of one contract to sign her with another more lucrative label for instant stardom in 2011. &nbsp;</p><p>Does it depress you that Kelly Osbourne (daughter of Ozzy) got a record deal to sing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DunbWiCEvgU" target="_blank">horrible Madonna covers</a>, while scores of other truly talented bands and artists have dwindled into obscurity? Unfortunately, this kind of gross nepotism runs rampant in the music business today (see Jann Wenner putting his <a href="http://gawker.com/jann-wenners-kid-is-the-new-head-of-rollingstone-com-508921163" target="_blank">22-year-old son</a>&nbsp;in charge of RollingStone.com) and in most other areas of the entertainment industry as well.&nbsp;</p><p>So, how do artists <a href="http://stereogum.com/1218552/deconstructing-how-can-indie-musicians-break-even/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">make money</a> when they don&#39;t already have the money to spend?</p><ul><li><strong>Selling merch: </strong>Retail&nbsp;CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, lighters, koozies and other creative items that are cheap to buy in bulk (and thus more likely to turn a profit).</li><li><strong>Campaigning on Kickstarter:&nbsp;</strong>Need some extra cash for your next album or tour? This popular crowd-funding site is worth a shot (hey, it worked for Amanda Palmer!)</li><li><strong>Dominating YouTube:&nbsp;</strong>Racking up views on this global channel could not only catch the attention of a major record label, but also garner you up to $1,500 per one million streams from&nbsp;advertising and/or corporate sponsorships.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Making a deal with iTunes: </strong>Independent artists usually see the most revenue from their albums via iTunes digital downloads. Full album downloads at roughly $9.99 could add up quickly, especially as you build your fanbase through touring and social-networking around the world.&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Getting your song on a TV show:&nbsp;</strong>Start making those L.A. connections, because licensing fees for even just a small clip of one of your songs on a show like <em>Breaking Bad&nbsp;</em>could amount to a cool $250,000-$600,000 paycheck.</li></ul><p>Many relatively well-known musicians <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/23/nick-hemming-music-day-job" target="_blank">still keep their day jobs</a>; not surprising, considering that the average musician makes only <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/musicians-income_n_1719908.html" target="_blank">$34,000</a>&nbsp;off their music in America each year&nbsp;<em>before</em> deducting expenses from touring, recording, etc. (which, given the rising prices of gas and fancy recording software, can wrack up quite the bill).</p><p>Even Pitchfork-famous indie artists like Grizzly Bear and Cat Power&nbsp;<a href="http://stereogum.com/1218552/deconstructing-how-can-indie-musicians-break-even/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">have struggled to make ends meet</a>; so be&nbsp;practical about the pros and cons of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/11/how-musicians-really-make-money-in-one-long-graph/249267/" target="_blank">musician&#39;s lifestyle</a>&nbsp;before committing to it full-time.</p><p>If you&#39;re only making music for the money, then you should get out now. But if you truly love what you do&mdash;and don&#39;t mind riding in a smelly tour bus, starting out in tiny venues and living off Ramen noodles for months (or years) until you get your big break&mdash;then ignore the haters and keep rockin&#39; on.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter </a>or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/so-you-want-be-famous-musician-107318 Five myths about feminism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/five-myths-about-feminism-106826 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/taylor%20swift.jpg" title="Taylor Swift doesn't want you calling her a feminist. (Jezebel)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Female superstars like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Beyoncé want to empower young girls and be champions for women everywhere. Just don&#39;t call them feminists.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When asked if they considered themselves feminists, they all balked at the term:&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><blockquote><p>&quot;I don&#39;t really think about things as guys versus girls.&quot; &mdash; Taylor Swift,<em> <a href="http://jezebel.com/5953879/dont-go-calling-taylor-swift-a-feminist-says-taylor-swift" target="_blank">The Daily Beast</a></em></p><p>&quot;I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have label yourself as anything? I&#39;m just a woman, and I love being a woman.&quot; &mdash; Beyoncé, <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/04/beyonc-is-a-feminist-i-guess.html" target="_blank"><em>Vogue UK</em></a></p><p>&quot;I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.&quot; &mdash; Katy Perry, Billboard&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://noisey.vice.com/blog/katy-perry-billboards-woman-of-the-year-wants-you-to-know-shes-not-a-feminist-and-why-that-matters" target="_blank">Woman of the Year</a>&quot;</p></blockquote><p>All of these statements are non-answers that completely miss the point. By <a href="http://www.google.com/#hl=en&amp;sclient=psy-ab&amp;q=definition+feminism&amp;oq=definition+feminism&amp;gs_l=hp.3..0l3j0i22i30.1842.5352.2.5551.;pbx=1&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&amp;bvm=bv.45645796,d.aWM&amp;fp=f850d64596a94878&amp;biw=1220&amp;bih=603" target="_blank">definiton</a><a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism" target="_blank">,</a> feminism is &quot;the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.&quot; So if you &quot;believe in equality&quot; and &quot;the strength of women,&quot; then you are, in fact, a feminist. Why hem and haw around the question? Honestly, I don&#39;t think that these women have any idea what feminism actually is.</p><p>Say what you will about the &quot;adorkable&quot; Zooey Deschanel, but at least she has the balls to openly declare her feminism, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/01/04/zooey_deschanel_declares_her_feminism/" target="_blank">unlike most Hollywood starlets</a> these days:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can&#39;t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f-cking feminist and wear a f-cking Peter Pan collar. So f-cking what?&quot;</p></blockquote><p>A modern aversion to the word &quot;feminism&quot; may stem from <a href="http://womenshistory.about.com/od/mythsofwomenshistory/a/bra_burning.htm" target="_blank">old myths</a> about the women&#39;s movement that still exist today (&quot;I&#39;m not a feminist because I&#39;m not a bra-burning, man-hating megabitch, etc.&quot;) and, in my opinion, should be myth-busted immediately.</p><p>Here are a few common misconceptions about feminism that are simply <a href="http://community.feministing.com/2010/08/09/myths-about-feminism-among-the-younger-generation/" target="_blank">not true</a>:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Myth #1: Feminists hate men.</strong></p><p>Feminism is about equality, not the superiority of one sex over another. Patriarchy can be <a href="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/12/on-shoveling-snow-and-how-patriarchy-hurts-men.html" target="_blank">just as damaging to men</a> as it is to women (encouraging an &quot;alpha-male&quot; mentality, instructing boys never to cry or show emotions, etc.); so, by that rationale, men can be feminists too. Feminism isn&#39;t about shifting blame or shoehorning all of the world&#39;s problems onto men. It&#39;s about identifying areas of inequality and working together to fix them.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Myth #2: Feminists don&#39;t believe in marriage.</strong></p><p>Contrary to popular belief, not all feminists are bitter old spinsters, mannish lesbians or ice-queen CEOs who only care about climbing the corporate ladder. Just because you want to get married one day (to a man or a woman) does not mean that you care any less about women&#39;s equality at home or in the workplace.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Myth #3: Feminists are pro-abortion, bra-burning, bleeding heart liberals.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Yes, feminists tend to be more liberal than conservative, and collectively pro-choice for the most part. However, you don&#39;t have to vote Democrat to support women&#39;s equality, and defending a woman&#39;s right to choose does not make you &quot;pro-abortion.&quot; The key word here is <em>choice</em>, and that&#39;s the true beauty of feminism. Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom or dad doesn&#39;t make you any less of a feminist, just like choosing not to have children doesn&#39;t make you any less of a woman or man. Also, those &quot;hairy-legged women libbers&quot; of the sixties <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94240375" target="_blank">never burned their bras</a> in protest. True story.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Myth #4: Feminists are offended by any gesture of gallantry. </strong></p><p>I like when men open doors for me. It&#39;s a nice break from having them slammed in my face. Feminists may have introduced the idea of splitting the check (and treating our partners to dinner every now and then) but that doesn&#39;t mean we hate chivalry and romantic gestures as a whole. I appreciate when a guy offers to pay for dinner or insists on driving me home; however, I always make sure to return the favor at some point. As long as there&#39;s equality and balance in the relationship, then a feminist couple can take care of each other in whichever way feels right for them.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Myth #5: Feminists may have been necessary in the past, but we don&#39;t need them anymore.</strong></p><p>We&#39;ve come along way since the fight for women&#39;s suffrage and Roe v. Wade, but we still need feminism, both in the United States and around the world. Rape and victim-blaming, child brides, sex trafficking, genital mutiliation and disfigurement, honor killings, forced prostitution, infanticide of female babies in countries like China and India, domestic violence and other crimes against women are as <a href="http://listverse.com/2013/03/16/10-reasons-we-still-need-feminism/" target="_blank">rampant as ever</a>. The struggle for equality continues on, and feminists will not rest until every woman has the inalienable rights and freedoms that she deserves.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/five-myths-about-feminism-106826 Taylor to Kanye: Nanny nanny boo boo http://www.wbez.org/story/andrew-gill/taylor-kanye-nanny-nanny-boo-boo <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//taylor swift_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">The country pop singer has reason to gloat this week. First week <a href="http://www.billboard.com/news/taylor-swift-debuts-10-speak-now-songs-on-1004125431.story?tag=hpfeed#/news/taylor-swift-sells-over-1-million-in-record-1004125158.story">sales</a> for <a href="http://www.taylorswift.com/">Taylor Swift&rsquo;s</a> album <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Now-Taylor-Swift/dp/B003WTE886">Speak Now</a> hit a million in only its first week. Only 16 albums have achieved this feat since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. And, Sound Opinions' Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot add, this is especially significant in an age when digital music is king.</p><p>Songs include:</p><p>Taylor Swift, &quot;Mine,&quot; Speak Now, Big Machine Records, 2010</p></p> Thu, 11 Nov 2010 15:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/andrew-gill/taylor-kanye-nanny-nanny-boo-boo