Jack Antonoff Talks Sudden Popularity of Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”: “I’m Loving Where the Music Business Has Gone”

Producer, songwriter, and overall Renaissance Man Jack Antonoff recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he discussed choosing singles for album releases, how the music industry has changed, and the sudden popularity of “Cruel Summer,” a song he wrote and produced with Taylor Swift.

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In 2022 and 2023 alone, Antonoff won two Grammys for Producer of the Year and also produced three of the biggest album releases: Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, the 1975’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language, and Taylor Swift’s Midnights. Antonoff is a frequent collaborator with Swift, producing and co-writing her albums from Reputation to Midnights and everything in between.

Recently, “Cruel Summer”—a song Antonoff and Swift wrote for the 2019 album Lover— has rocketed to the top of the charts with unexplainable popularity. Fallon asked Antonoff to share his theories on the sudden resurgence of the four-year-old song, and Antonoff articulated a thoughtful answer about how the music industry has changed, how singles are chosen, and how he feels about the song’s renewed popularity.

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Taylor Swift’s Four-Year Late No. 1 Hit “Cruel Summer”]

“I feel like I’m loving where the music business has gone,” he began, “because it just melted down into nothing but what people like. And you could talk your crap about this or that, but, just, the fans are God, what they say goes.”

He then went into what it used to be like to choose singles, and how fans get behind certain songs that sometimes artists aren’t expecting. “When I was younger and you’d make a record and you’d say, ‘That’s the song that if you cracked me open is my soul,’ right?” he began. “But then you’re like, ‘This song is cool,’ but that’s the song, and then everyone is saying, ‘No, this song that you feel fine about is the one.’ And then they tell you, you’ve got to get behind that one.”

Antonoff continued, “But the new world, [that’s] just sort of over. It’s cooked. The idea of a single [now] is just, what’s the song that if you could get your friends in a room, you’d play? And what happened with ‘Cruel Summer’ is a testament to that.

“It was always our favorite song in the album,” he explained. “And then with nothing … 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 happened with a bunch of things. And I just think the music business is in a fun place for just the work.”

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