There is little doubt about how social media has changed the world, especially the entertainment industry where today artist interaction with fans is closer than ever before. Even the Country Music Industry has been greatly affected by this rapid change as artists like Hunter Hayes and Taylor Swift are riding the crest of social media dominance with their fans.All things considered, the establishment of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and many other social media websites represents a fundamental change in the Country Music Industry and entertainment in general the likes of which has never been seen.To fully understand the impact that social media has had on country music in general, it’s important to go back to the 20th century and see the landscape for country artists at that time. Like much of the music industry, artist interaction with their fans was on a limited basis. Other than concerts, access to artists by fans was generally limited to fan letters and special appearances.In addition, crafting the image of a country artist was more controlled in those times with Nashville being the center of the industry. The songs, style and even the appearance of the artist could be presented to the public by a single company. Plus, the entire promotional campaign for the release of a new album or tour could be built up over the months in a carefully controlled manner.Today, social media has broken through and allowed country artists to speak with their fans directly, a type of interaction that simply did not exist. Before, a country artist might respond to a fan’s letter. Today, that same artist can post or tweet about whatever they want to fans who subscribe to their social media service.Perhaps the most obvious change is how country artists are now promoted, especially those that have established themselves. One tweet can inform thousands of fans about a new song, album or tour in which they can inform their family and friends. This helps get the word out about new songs or activities of their favorite country stars.In addition, the more personal interaction brings a level of intimacy that had never been experienced before. In the old days, country stars seemed more aloof, more distant from their fans. Today, social media has allowed these same stars to communicate like they were sitting across the breakfast table.The Rise of New Country Music Stars Another huge impact that social media has on the entertainment industry as well as country music is how stars can become famous through the use of videos, particularly on YouTube to promote their works. It is now far more common for stars to come from nowhere and rise to the top all based on performance videos. The pop industry has certainly been greatly changed by the rise of Justin Bieber and PSY, the artist who wrote “Gangnam Style” which became the first video to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.Country music is no different with young fans interacting on social media daily. New stars can rise from nowhere and become world famous if their songs and videos become popular. Long gone are the days when country stars were groomed in the traditional manner, taking years to get established. Social media has now condensed that time to mere weeks depending on the success and impact of their work.How Taylor Swift Helped Change the Country Music IndustryOf all country artists, none have been quite as successful in utilizing all the aspects of social media as Taylor Swift. On a seemingly daily basis, Taylor will share her thoughts, photos and feelings to her fans through Twitter, Facebook and the like. From telling her fans about a new book she is reading to showing family photos to revealing pre-show activities and pretty much everything that is going on in her life.Taylor Swift demonstrates on a daily basis that the life of a country music superstar can fascinate thousands upon thousands of their fans. Swift is also the perfect medium for the country music industry when it comes to artist interaction on social media. Swift’s own personality, her openness with her life and cute, very girly nature would be almost impossible to convey using the 20th century methods available at the time. Taylor Swift is truly a child of social media and she has used that to great extent over the past several years.There is little doubt that social media websites will continue to dominate the country music industry, especially in terms of new stars arriving on the scene. While many well established country stars will use social media as they see fit to promote what they do. The new, younger country stars will place social media at the cornerstone of their promotional efforts. There are a number of reasons why such trends are expected to continue and grow through the foreseeable future.Mobile Devices: What was once the domain of desktops and laptops is now dominated by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Today, most young people interact through their mobile devices which is overtaking traditional sources of information such as television, radio and newspapers.Cheaper Access: When Taylor Swift or Hunter Hayes announces to their fans on Twitter about a new song or event coming up, all it costs them is the time it took to tweet the information. Compare that to traditional sources of promotion which consumed a great deal of money in terms of advertising. It’s now quite common to build up momentum for a new song or album release relying mostly on the free sources of social media.Greater Connection: Artist interaction has never been higher thanks to social media sources, particularly Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr which are easy to use and can post enough information to keep fans informed. Plus, they add a human element to country stars that could not be conveyed through traditional media.Social media is ever-growing and ever-changing, helping to bring in a new tide of country artists while bring closer together the established country stars with their fans.