Sen. Marsha Blackburn escalates feud with Taylor Swift, says singer would be the ‘first victim’ of socialism

Taylor Swift (left), Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn (right)
Taylor Swift (left) and Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn (right)

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn escalated her feud with Taylor Swift in an interview with Breitbart.
  • The GOP senator said singers like Taylor Swift would be the “first victims” of socialism.
  • The two have been feuding since 2018 when Swift called Blackburn “Trump in a wig.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn has reignited her long-running feud with pop star Taylor Swift.

In an interview with right-wing news outlet Breitbart, the Tennessee senator criticized the left for making country music “woke” and said that singers like Swift would suffer under a socialist government.

“If we have a socialistic government, if we have Marxism, you are going to be the first ones who will be cut off because the state would have to approve your music,” she said.

“When you look at Marxist socialistic societies, they do not allow women to dress or sing or be on stage or to entertain or the type of music she would have. They don’t allow protection of private intellectual property rights.”

“Taylor Swift came after me in my 2018 campaign, but Taylor Swift would be the first victim”, she said.

Swift first criticized Blackburn during the 2018 midterm elections in a lengthy Instagram post. Her comments were widely reported at the time, being the first time the singer spoke publicly about her political views.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift wrote at the time.

“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

At the time, The Washington Post reported that more than 169,000 people registered to vote on in the 48 hours after Swift’s post.

Despite Swift’s intervention, Blackburn went on to win the Senate seat.

Taylor Swift’s 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana showed the pop star reacting to the Tennessee politician’s victory.

“She gets to be the first female senator in Tennessee, and she’s Trump in a wig,” Swift said.

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Taylor Swift ‘doesn’t need’ to earn streaming royalties, according to a former Spotify boss who said the company is a distribution platform that wasn’t built to pay artists money

taylor swift 1989 tour
Taylor Swift performs in 2015 during the “1989” world tour.

  • Former Spotify boss Jim Anderson said the platform was designed to distribute music, not pay artists.
  • “I think Taylor Swift doesn’t need .00001 more a stream,” Anderson told singer Ashley Jana.
  • Apple Music’s average per play rate is $0.01. On Spotify, it takes around 250 streams to make $1.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former Spotify boss who is credited with helping to create the Swedish music streaming platform said Spotify was never built to pay artists.

“Spotify was created to solve a problem,” said Jim Anderson, who also co-founded, at a 2019 music industry conference in New York, according to a newly released recording of the event. “The problem was this: piracy and music distribution. The problem was to get artists’ music out there. The problem was not to pay people money.”

Anderson’s comments were recorded by singer-songwriter Ashley Jana, who didn’t share the recording until this week in fear of retribution from the music industry, according to Digital Music News.

The comments now made public follow a growing push for music streaming platforms to raise royalties, or the amount artists are paid per stream. “Artists are really broke,” Jana told Anderson at the 2019 event. “We’re not making any money off of the streams.”

Anderson used Taylor Swift, a long-time advocate for new musicians, as an example, saying she “doesn’t need” an increase in streaming royalties.

Swift has advocated for change in the music streaming industry since 2014 when she published an essay for the Wall Street Journal arguing that “music should not be free.” The same year, Swift pulled her “1989” album from Spotify.

In response to recent pressure, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek launched the company initiative Loud and Clear to “shed light on the complicated economics of music streaming.”

In April, Apple Music said its streaming royalties pay double what Spotify pays, although the rate is calculated on a stream-share basis, not a per-stream basis, making the two rates difficult to accurately compare.

Ek wrote that one of Spotify’s goals is to help artists make a living by creating opportunities for more musicians to reach more listeners, saying fans ultimately determine the financial fate of musicians.

The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) organized international protests against Spotify this March. The company did not meet the union’s demands such as the one penny per-stream royalty rate.

“The company consistently deflects blame onto others for systems it has itself built, and from which it has created its nearly $70 billion valuation,” UMAW said on Twitter this March.

In an interview with The Verge, Ek said the future of Spotify depends on multiple streams of revenue, which will then allow creators to best decide how to monetize their fan base.

“What we realized is that we’re no longer this kind of small startup from Sweden,” Ek told the Verge. “We’re in fact a very, very important platform for a lot of these audio creators.”

Spotify declined Business Insider’s request for comment.

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