Country music has become a more diverse genre than ever before. From traditionalist hat acts to Nashville pop stars, there’s something for just about any kind of country fan. Even so, the format hasn’t seen as much crossover success recently as other genres have. So how did a singer like Taylor Swift come to find such massive chart success singing primarily country songs? Readers will likely be familiar with Swift’s previous work as the lead singer of a popular indie-pop band called “The New Yorkers” and her hit single “You Belong With Me.” But in 2014, she released 1989, an entire album of country songs, and it was just about the biggest thing to happen to country in some time. Why? We explore Here are the reasons why Taylor Swift and her country album 1989 are good for the genre...
Swift’s Choice to rebrand as a Country Artist Was Risky
When Swift decided to rebrand herself as a country artist, she was taking a bold move, as country music fans are a loyal bunch and don’t take kindly to outsiders. And in some ways, it seems like she almost got away with it. At first, people didn’t seem to care that she was singing country music, and she was able to make it work. But as her career progressed, it raised some eyebrows. But while some country purists may have protested her presence in the genre, it led to some interesting discussions. And those discussions re-appraised the role of pop music in country music and the role country music plays in pop music overall.
Her Album was Supported by an Involvement Strategy
For her first country album, Swift was an active participant in the promotion process. She showed up at the CMA Awards and the ACM Awards and provided plenty of interviews. She even appeared on “American Idol” and helped to crown a winner. She was careful to avoid taking anything away from established stars in the genre while simultaneously incorporating herself into the country music culture. And her album was successful as a result. Swift’s involvement in the country music world helped to boost sales as fans wanted to see her succeed.
Her Music Videos are Good Marketing Messages
One of the most effective marketing tools for Swift was her music videos. She released multiple music videos in support of her first country album, and each one was carefully crafted to tell a part of a larger story. Some of her videos, “Welcome to New York” and “Blank Space,” were seemingly unconnected. But others, like “Bad Blood,” “Style,” and “Wildest Dreams,” all tell a story about Swift and her relationships with other women. These video stories helped to humanize Swift and showed her to be more than just a singer. They helped to establish her as an artist and provided insight into her image. And they helped to keep her name in the press as fans eagerly anticipated the next video.
Her Collaborations and Targeted Drops Were Well-Timed
As if her music videos weren’t enough, Swift also collaborated with other artists on their music and dropped new songs at times when they were likely to make the biggest impact. Her decision to work with fellow country singer, Zac Brown, and release the song, “Great Big Storm,” helped to bring attention to the struggles of the southeast region during the hurricane recovery efforts. And her decision to work with Shawn Mendes and release the song, “I Don’t Care,” helped to bring attention to LGBTQ youth. Her collaborations and targeted drops were well-timed to capture the attention of the country music audience. And they added to the bigger picture of Swift’s image as a country artist.
Swift Helped Grow Awareness of Country Artists and Country Music Events
Over the course of promoting her country music, Swift became more involved with other country artists. She helped to promote artists at award shows and at events like the CMA Festival. She also helped to bring attention to other events and moments in country music. For example, she helped to bring attention to the passing of Gregg Allman and the loss of Glen Campbell. In doing so, Swift helped to build awareness of the genre and its artists. She also helped to showcase the importance of the events and concerts in which the country music stars perform.
Swift’s success in country music did more than just boost her own album sales. It helped to bring attention to country music as a whole. Her involvement in the culture, her collaborations with country artists, and her targeted releases helped to draw attention to the genre and its artists. And with country now being the most popular genre in the US, it’s clear that country music is here to stay. So if you’re looking to get into the music, it might be a good idea to keep an ear out for a country tune. And if you happen to hear one of Swift’s, odds are you’ll know that country music is growing stronger than ever.