Taylor Swift started singing and playing the guitar at an age when most of us were discovering our first musical love. So Swift has a big advantage to most of the music artists out there: time and experience. She also has one other advantage: her father.
From what I have read (no, I won't cite my sources- this isn't the NYTimes) Swift's father was central to her not only getting on the shiny new record label but retaining so much control over her music.
For any young and naive band, getting signed is a mile marker for being successful in the music industry, but ask any veted band or artist (especially one with 5 or 6 albums on the same label) and they won't hesitate to tell you it's not all the hype they thought it was. Debts owed to record labels, managers and producers forcing a specific sound or content out of your work can be very stifling for artists- no wonder so many young artists go off the deep end.
With all this bad rap about record labels, it is an anomaly that after ten years in the music industry Swift is still successful and continuing to write music, and not only that- she is still writing and producing good music. Sure you can argue that she “went pop” or that you don’t really like pop music in the first place, but you have to admit that being this far down the rabbit hole and being able to stand up to Apple is not a position a lot of “successful” music artists are in.
I for one, love pop music- but not at the detriment of other kinds of music. Unfortunately to get into that topic would require much more paper than I have access to at this time.