New York Magazine

For decades, country singers outsourced their songwriting to professionals. Did Taylor Swift murder Music Row?

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMER Harlan Howard once described country songwriting as “three chords and the truth.” Though Howard released half a dozen albums under his own name, he earned his place in history by writing country classics, not performing them. The “truth” in his songs wasn’t autobiographical; he was after stories and sentiments that would still ring true emotionally even if someone else were singing them.

There are famous exceptions, of course, but for most

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