Jack Antonoff Is "Loving Where the Music Business Has Gone"

"It's just melted down into nothing but what people like. And you could talk your crap about this or that, but the fans are God."

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 2, 2023

Despite being an outspoken advocate for the rampant issues with pandemic-era touring, Jack Antonoff remains optimistic about the music industry.

The in-demand pop producer — who has won the Producer of the Year Grammy two years in a row — appeared on The Tonight Show last night (November 1) to perform the sax-y, Fairly Odd Parents theme-esque "Modern Girl" with his band, Bleachers, and chat with Jimmy Fallon about having the No. 1 song in the US again this week with Taylor Swift's four-year-old "Cruel Summer."

Despite being one of Swift's best songs, "Cruel Summer" was initially not a single from 2019's Lover. After a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Eras Tour (and the pop star's breakup with long-term partner Joe Alwyn), Republic Records announced that it was sending it to US pop radio on June 15. Last week, "Cruel Summer" — produced and co-written by Antonoff — hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100, where it remains this week.

"I'm loving where the music business has gone," Antonoff told Fallon, "because it's just melted down into nothing but what people like, and you could talk your crap about this or that, but the fans are God; what they say goes."

The producer continued, "What happened with 'Cruel Summer' was a testament to that. It was always our favourite song on the album. And then, with nothing — with no gas on the fire, with no one on the business side doing anything — just kids started playing it more and more and more. It happened with that song, it's happened with a bunch of things — and I just think the music business is in a fun place for just the work."

Antonoff is right to be optimistic about fans having more say, and maybe this provides some semblance of an explanation for why the godawful "ME!" was selected as the lead single from Lover. But of course, it can't be ignored that he occupies a particularly elevated space in the music industry, producing records for Swift, Lana Del Rey, the 1975, Lorde and more A-listers.

Similarly, it was reported earlier this week that major labels are trying to prevent instances comparable to Swift's hugely lucrative Taylor's Version re-recording project from happening. UMG, Warner and Sony have overhauled contracts for new signees, forcing some to wait up to 30 years after severing ties before they can re-record previously released material, effectively screwing over smaller artists with way more modest goals related to recording new versions of their songs.

Anyway, you can check out the interview with New Jersey's finest New Yorker and pop music hoarder below, as well as Bleachers' performance of "Modern Girl."


Latest Coverage