Sunday, October 16, 2011

Be Like Taylor

As the size of the generational cohorts comprising the age group which has already started hitting retirement now won't peak and start downward in proportion of the population until the 4.3 million babies born in 1957 during the baby boom have fast forwarded 65 years to 2022, it's inevitable that many country stations which once prided themselves on having a mean age right in the middle of 25-54, now find themselves with an audience whose average age is moving up into the mid-to-high 40's.

Last week's New Yorker offers a wonderfully-flattering in-depth profile of the woman who may have changed that course for us, Taylor Swift. Writer Lizzie Widdicombe makes it clear that Taylor wasn't trying to do anything so calculated as target the nation's next very, very large emerging generation of country fans - today's teen age girls and 18-28 females - in the article titled "You Belong With Me: How Taylor Swift made teen angst into a business empire." She's just being herself.

For those of us who hope to remain relevant from a perspective of several decades older, clearly we have some learning to do and even the descriptive phrases Widdicombe uses provide a list of traits not normal to an X'er or Boomer that we need to incorporate as we work to hold not only the Swift generation, as their values impact the entire culture.
  • Radiates unjaded sincerity no matter how contrived the situation
  • Writes her own material
  • Like Dolly Parton, writes autobiographical story songs that relate to her target audience
  • In the Internet era, (that) is also a clever marketing device
  • Doesn’t drink or go to clubs. More "wholesome" than her parents' generation was at her age
  • Emotional and personal in universal ways
  • Her mother and father remain a big part of her life
  • Spends most of her off time with band members, friends, and family
  • Approaches her career with the seriousness of a C.E.O
Anyone who opens a microphone on a country radio station would do well to run through that checklist each time they prep and deliver.

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