“Is there any limit to Taylor Swift’s power?” Tim Lordan asks.
It’s just before 1 p.m. this past Friday, and Lordan — the executive director of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee — is moderating a Capitol Hill panel discussion on the public policy of music streaming. With just hours to go before the weekend, he’s assembled a group of experts to answer a playful and provocative question: between Swift and Congress, who has a greater effect on the streaming industry?
“She has a degree of freedom to speak out about these industry structures and the ability to pull her catalogue from some services in a way that could potentially be more difficult if she was recording for a major label,” said Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition, which advocates for artists.
To Erickson, that particular advantage is ironic, given the reference to “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine” in Swift’s song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
“I always thought that was funny, because she’s on an indie label,” he said. “Her records are indie records.”
Yet for Erickson, it was a recent incident at a Swift concert in Washington, D.C., that demonstrated how even the most powerful pop star can be rendered powerless.
“I used to think Taylor Swift was omnipotent until she got stuck on that elevated stage thing at Nationals Park on Monday night,” he said to laughter.