Now that Taylor Swift has gone public with her feelings about politics, what does that mean for her music being played on the radio. You probably recall how the Dixie Chicks received the cold shoulder from radio when Natalie Maines took a very public shot at President Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq war back in 2003, saying she was ashamed the President was from Texas. Those comments pretty much ended their career as Country music superstars.
Swift told her 112 million Instagram followers that she would vote for two Democrats running for Congress in Tennessee. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”
One of those events Swift is probably referring to is former KYGO Denver morning man David Mueller who was found guilty of groping the singer.
Country radio consultant Joel Raab tells Radio Ink he doubts Country stations will back off of Taylor Swift. “If listeners revolt, we’d have to take that into consideration. I hope that’s not the case. That said, Country radio is not playing much Taylor Swift now. The typical Country station now plays zero to four Taylor Swift songs in their gold libraries, depending upon the research, or how a station is positioned. Since Taylor switched to pop, she hasn’t had a hit in the format since 2012, unless you count “Better Man” that Little Big Town released in 2016. Taylor sings background on the Sugarland’s “Babe” (which Taylor wrote) and radio will continue to play the song as long as it tests.”
It didn’t seem to hurt Eric Church when he said, ‘There are some things we can’t stop. Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school. But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas. I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.’
Raab continued, “Then again, there’s often a double standard for women (i.e. Dixie Chicks). The bottom line is that I don’t see it as an issue.”
Julie Stevens, PD for Empire broadcasting tells Radio Ink, “Not us! And please use the station name. If we have any cachet in the nation I want to go on record as saying if you don’t play her music because of her political leanings, you are AN IDIOT!!”
Here are some quotes from Country PDs we reached out to about this topic. The question we asked was whether they thought Country radio would back off on playing Swift’s music after she made her statement. We kept their names anonymous.
“As of the writing of this email…I’ve not received a complaint yet.”
“Hard to say really. She’s so aligned in the pop world now that I doubt it will affect her either way.”
“We will continue to play Taylor Swift.”
“Maybe in TN. Not sure it matters anywhere else.”
“I didn’t even think about pulling her music until you just mentioned it.”
“No I don’t…most of her older gold isn’t played a ton anyway…a lot of the audience knows she has gone pop and is no longer a country artist.”
“Yes, I do think it will affect her airplay. She doesn’t get a ton of country airplay anyway, but I think this will be a reason to back off even further.”