NICK NAG: Taylor Swift’s “Christmas Tree Farm” and the Music Industry Machine
“We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January.” This is a lyric from Taylor Swift’s single Lover from her latest album of the same name. With a lyric like that, this could easily be her official Christmas song. Instead, though, she has released Christmas Tree Farm following. It comes after Swift received what has felt like a decade’s worth of attention within this year alone to then be honored with the title of Artist of the Decade by the American Music Awards. This all has been the equivalent of leaving the Christmas lights up ’til January. If you believe in Christ, err Swift, there is a time and place to celebrate. But this has been going on for way too long.
Before I go any further, it’s important that I acknowledge a piece of the saturized coverage of Swift stems from her messy split from her former record label, Big Machine, following its purchase by music manager Scooter Braun. Part of that purchase included the masters to Swift’s first six albums, or up to 2017’s Reputation. This essentially means that at this point in time she does not own any of the music she has created save for what she has just released this year. With this is mind, I don’t blame her for wanting to create as much music as she can for her to own. Sure, she intends on re-recording all of her past releases, but should she really have to do that? It’s almost as if she’s being unfairly persecuted, crucified if you will. Wow, maybe she is Christ herself…
The issue, though, is Christmas Tree Farm just isn’t all that unique or special. A home video-filled music video doesn’t change the fact that the sound and even the lyrics that are meant to convey her love for her upbringing during the holidays appear generic. Coming off of working retail over Thanksgiving weekend, this song fits in perfectly with the songs I heard playing there, and I use the word “perfectly” loosely here. I doubt it will be a holiday playlist staple anywhere outside of these brick and mortar buildings.
And while I complain about the endless media fawning towards her, it appears there is actually an end in sight and that is equally frustrating. Upon a search of her name, an article titled “Taylor Swift’s Days As A Dominant Singles Artist May Be Over” has already made its way to Forbes magazine. Two weeks ago she was named Artist of the Decade and now her future success is in doubt. It’s not so much with Swift where I take issue, but rather the media. There is nothing genuine about their praises. They are simply riding a wave to attract her fans. Then when the coverage becomes saturated, people get sick of it and begin to turn against her, with the media following suit. And the worst part? After all of this, she still does not own a majority of her music. What good does that do? All it does is enable Big Machine’s behavior.
Even better, another publication titled Market Watch asks the very important question: “Is Taylor Swift’s ‘Christmas Tree Farm’ a sign that millennials are boosting live tree sales?” Yes. 100 percent. You nailed it. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.