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Taylor Swift to Donate 'Welcome to New York' Proceeds to NYC Public Schools
Taylor Swift is giving back to her new adopted hometown. The singer announced on "The View" today that she's donating the proceeds from the sale of her single, "Welcome to New York," to New York City Public Schools. "I’m still learning but I’m so enthusiastic about this city that I feel like when I love something, I’m very vocal about it,”
Swift, who was recently named a "Global Welcome Ambassador" for New York City tourism, said earlier this week during an appearance on "Good Morning America." “I just go around going like, ‘Everybody, New York is amazing.’ So I think they just picked up on that and they gave me, like, a title.” Taylor Swift on '1989,' Fans and Her New Year's Eve Plans Taylor Swift on What Inspired Her New Song, ‘Welcome to New York’ Swift, 24, has had a banner week, having just released her new '80s-inspired album, "1989." This marks the first time Swift has put out a pop album, something she described as the "most authentic" move. “I feel so without a doubt [that] this is the best thing I’ve done," she told "GMA." "So to have people able to finally have it now and to have the fans understand what I’ve been working on for two years, it’s just the most amazing feeling."
Why Taylor Swift's '1989' Could Be The Last Platinum Album Ever
Taylor Swift has unveiled quite a few surprises of late—moving from Nashville to New York, ditching the country format that elevated her to superstar status, and even trying her hand at rapping in new album 1989.
“I like to look at albums as being sort of statements,” she told Billboard. “Visually, sonically, emotionally, I like them all to have their own fingerprint. This time I’m kind of just doing whatever I feel like. I felt like making a pop album, so I did.”
Perhaps more surprising than all of these developments is the fact that Swift is on pace to sell more than 1 million copies of 1989 in its opening week—a feat no solo artist has achieved since Swift herself did it two years ago with Red.
The shocking part is not that Swift is doing this, but that any artist is doing this. It’s not just that there hasn’t been a single platinum opening week this year. There hasn’t been a single platinum album this year, unless you count the Frozen soundtrack.
All of this leads some industry observers to suspect that 1989 could be the last platinum album ever .
“I would like to believe that this recent achievement could be a sign of more to come,” says entertainment attorney Lori Landew of Fox Rothschild. “[But] I tend to believe that it is more an aberration that can be attributed to a super strong and loyal fan base.”
As my colleague Hugh McIntyre pointed out, five albums had gone platinum by this time last year. Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience led the way, moving over 2 million units by the start of the fourth quarter.
This year is a different story, and the reasons are fairly straightforward. Recorded music sales have been on a steep decline over the past decade or so, first because of piracy, and more recently due to the rise of streaming.
The latter, of course, is an improvement over the former: artists and songwriters do get paid for streams. While rates leave much to be desired, services like Spotify and Pandora are far better for musicians than Napster. And they’re just as easy, if not easier, to use—which is why streaming is well on its way to replacing the digital download.
According to Nielsen’s midyear music report, digital sales dipped 13% in this year’s first six months as album sales dropped 14.3%. That went hand-in-hand with a 42% increase in streaming.
“Since streaming sites and rogue torrent sites make it easy for any teenager to access millions of songs for free, it comes as no surprise that young people, who are the music industry’s core consumer, are not paying for physical or digital singles or albums,” says veteran music lawyer Bernie Resnick. “Without the support of the most important segment of the customer base, it becomes extremely difficult to sell enough units to qualify for gold or platinum sales awards.”
Swift, however, was able to energize her largely Millennial fan base by shrewdly using a range of promotional tactics. In addition to the requisite late night talk show appearances, there were unusual tricks like hosting private listening sessions for fans (and making Rice Krispies treats for them) and including Polaroids with hand-written lyrics in each physical copy of 1989.
That sort of connection has been at the core of Swift’s incredible success over the past five years, which have seen her annual earnings rise to an all-time high of $64 million in 2014. Like any good innovator, she hasn’t been afraid to tweak a working model in hopes of improving it.
Swift’s departure from country, an increasingly viable commercial genre, was certainly something of a risk. And though some songs on 1989 smacked of other pop songstresses like Lana Del Rey (“Wildest Dreams”) and Katy Perry (“Welcome To New York”), the album—especially the lead single “Shake It Off”—felt like pure Swift. It was a logical next step for an artist who already had a foot firmly planted in pop.
So will 1989 actually be the last platinum album of all time? It certainly seems possible. Still, it’s more likely that the RIAA will change its definition of platinum to encompass streams, just as Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart has. For now, though, Swift may have the platinum crown to herself for quite some time.
“As far as virtually everyone else is concerned, it seems like this kind of debut is beyond reach today and will remain so until the RIAA catches up with how music is currently consumed by the majority of new music lovers,” says Landew. “While Swift’s debut gives us hope that music lovers can be moved to want to own new music, buying trends would seen to indicate otherwise.”