Billboard’s 2014 Women in Music Luncheon Honors Taylor Swift, Aretha Franklin + More [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]
Billboard's annual Women in Music Luncheon is an event spent celebrating the women in music who have made an enormous impact that year. 2014 saw the likes of powerful female artists like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin and Ariana Grande (just to name a few) topping the charts and changing the industry, and today's (Dec. 12) event honored their efforts.
Taylor Swift -- who celebrates her 25th birthday tomorrow (Dec. 13) -- accepted her second Woman of the Year Award (she was first given the award in 2011), and in true Taylor fashion her speech was certainly the highlight of the event. From her trademark corny, but totally endearing jokes ("I turn 25 at midnight tonight, and I fully intend on partying like it's '1989'") to her total self-awareness ("I knew it was a bad joke when I wrote it, so I just did it anyway"), she was eloquent and well-spoken -- something we've come to expect from Taylor over the years.
She also stood strong on her controversial decision to remove her discography from music streaming site, Spotify, saying: "I’ve taken this year to stand up for my value as a songwriter, as a business woman and as a content creator. I’m very well aware that the music industry is changing and it will continue to change, and I am open to that change and open to progress."
Taylor then went into detail about why she made her decision, without directly addressing it: "I am not open to the financial model that is currently in place. I really believe ethat we, in the music industry, can find a way to bond technology with integrity. I really hope we can teach a younger generation the value of investment in music, rather than just the ephemeral consumption of it. I think there has to be a way for streaming or any future ways that we access music to fairly compensate the writers, musicians and producers of that music."
She ended her speech with a look toward the future generation of music, saying: "…Somewhere right now your future Woman of the Year is probably sitting in a piano lesson or in a girls choir. Today, right now, we need to take care of her. " You can check out the full speech in the video posted above, and believe us, it's definitely worth watching.
Talk about making for an unbeatable pre-birthday celebration! The legendary Aretha Franklin, who accepted the Icon Award, even sang 'Happy Birthday' to Taylor at the event, which you can watch above. Other women honored at the event included Iggy Azalea (who accepted the Chart-Topper Award), Ariana Grande (who accepted the Rising Star Award) and Hayley Williams of Paramore (who accepted the Trailblazer Award), who was sure to write down her speech because: "I was afraid I would make eye contact with Beyonce and forget everything."
It was an incredible way to honor so many strong, powerful women in music and to all of them we offer a huge congratulations!
See Photos of Taylor Swift, Beyonce + More at Billboard's 2014 Women in Music Luncheon!