Thank you for this moment

Early in life, we are told that fighting fire with fire will only make matters worse. But the fire of gratitude, diplomacy and goodness will squelch the fire of crudeness and rudeness, every time. Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift proved this useful lesson when she eloquently delivered her acceptance speech at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Photo Courtesy

Photo Courtesy

While the memory of Kanye West’s interruption of Ms. Swift’s acceptance speech in 2009 at the Video Music Awards still burned, he recently added fuel to his fire by releasing a song that indecently referenced his role in her success.

Despite the public’s anticipation over how Ms. Swift would react on stage to Mr. West’s inappropriate remarks, she handled it with class and confidence. By replacing the role of victim with role model, she took her power back and delivered a message to her audience of young women and girls.

  “As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift said while she accepted the award for her album “1989”. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment.”

Taylor Swift may be best known as a famous pop star, but she is also a savvy business woman. She creatively called on the loyalty of her fan base while garnering respect from a much larger audience.

Inc Magazine noted that she knows exactly how to protect her brand and her image. The lessons they took from Ms. Swift included:

  • Change the conversation
  • Keep the message about your brand or goals
  • Bring focus to a higher cause

In this case, Ms. Swift’s fire was classy, clever and confident.


A Swift Kick at Apple

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation,” wrote Taylor Swift in an open love letter to Apple.

In it, she gave the same reasoning that caused her earlier departure from Spotify, the subscription streaming music service Apple is cloning. The singer decided to keep her 1989 album off of Apple Music after discovering users could hear her songs and others,’ for free during the three-month trial period, but that those who created the songs wouldn’t be paid during that time.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


Ms. Swift wrote, “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

Insisting that her firm missive was “not about me” or “the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child,” Ms. Swift continued, “this is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriters who just got their first cut and thought the royalties would get them out of debt.  This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field … but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

“But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this.”

To its credit, Apple’s head of online services, Eddy Cue changed the policy immediately and responded on Twitter within a day that musicians would be paid during the 3-month free trial for consumers. “We hear you #taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Following classic media training, both the celebrity and the executive used elements of READY FOR MEDIA’s  12-C approach to communications: clear, candid, courteous, compassionate, confident, consistent, credible and convincing, etc … to play and win the media game!






So you said …

As concise as soundbites need to be, when they condemn you they are better left unsaid. Case in point …

“All the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time,” the chief executive of the company, Daniel Ek, posted on his blog. Taylor Swift couldn’t have said it better when she pulled her entire catalog from the freemium streaming outlet.

Taylor Swift pushes Spotify out sight

Taylor Swift pushes Spotify out of sight

She did say, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music,” Ms. Swift told Yahoo in an interview.

And CEO’s like Mr. Ek are not alone in making soundbite slips. U.S. presidents and hopefuls have done it for decades. President Nixon’s soundbite, “I am not a crook,” in the Watergate scandal long outlived his presidency. “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy,” became a Democratic battle cry in Dan Quayle’s bid for the White House. And Year 2000 presidential hopeful Al Gore announced on CNN that “during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

See more infamous soundbite slips in another part of our site, Media Mistakes