Taylor Swift has been a cultural and commercial force this year, regardless of your opinion. At 1.8 million copies, her late 2022 album “Midnights” was the year’s top-selling, double Harry Styles’ second in sales. Her latest, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” debuted at No. 1 in July, giving Swift 12 No. 1 albums, surpassing Barbra Streisand.
The 131-date “Eras” world tour, which is filling U.S. stadiums, is on track to be the highest-grossing concert tour ever at $1.4 billion when it ends next year. The tour is expected to spend $5 billion in host cities, according to analysts. Even the Fed acknowledged her tour’s impact on regional economies.
To better comprehend Swift, the Gazette contacted Harvard and Berklee College of Music academics to evaluate her art, fan following, tour’s economic impact, and industry position. Interviews are edited for length and clarity.
Swift loved music from a young age and went from child acting to her theatrical debut in front of thousands. Before a Philadelphia 76ers game at 11, she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The following year, she played guitar and wrote songs. Taking inspiration from Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks, Swift wrote songs about tween alienation. When Swift was 13, her parents moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee, giving her more opportunity to explore Nashville-area country labels.
Swift met recording industry veterans through a development arrangement with RCA Records, and in 2004, at the age of 14, she signed a songwriter’s contract with Sony/ATV. She sang many of the songs she had written at local Nashville clubs, and it was during one of these performances that record executive Scott Borchetta caught wind of her. Swift’s first single, “Tim McGraw,” which was heavily influenced by and referenced in a song by her favorite country music performer, was released in the summer of 2006 after Borchetta signed her to his young Big Machine label.
People Have a Strong Social and Emotional Bond With Her
People bond emotionally and socially with her. People usually become super fans or part of a fandom because the public figure or celebrity connects to their identity. That’s commonly linked.
Several things are happening with Taylor. Start with relatability. Despite being a star and living a vastly different life from her followers, her lyrics and emotions are incredibly relevant to many individuals. Humans share something.
Taylor Swift is popular among Millennials and Gen Z. Many Millennials grew up with her. She sang about their early experiences, such as love or adulthood. Her life paralleled theirs.
Generation Z discovered her during the pandemic through TikTok content and her many albums. They had comparable experiences. Many people’s identity development and growth have relied on her.
That’s My World
A third piece aims high. Female role model. She is an example of someone who stays true to their ideals and shows her fans they can achieve their goals. She owns her work and has released re-recordings of her older albums despite impediments. Such an act could inspire many young people.
Finally, the fan community matters. Many people build their identities through relationships with celebrities and other followers. Taylor’s fanbase helps people make friends and feel part of something bigger. That’s crucial for their development and life.
Gazette: Swift Has Told Followers to Stop Pestering Ex-Boy Friends What Separates Fan from Fanatic?
GOLD: Fandoms are generally positive. Fandom is positive, which is a crucial message. Not engaging in other key parts of one’s life, other relationships, or whether time spent online is producing anxiety, tension, or bad sentiments is vital to be aware of. Defending Taylor against other celebrities may lead to “OK, let’s take a step back and think about what we can do to bring this back to a place where it feels more positive.” Recognize that this is a significant relationship, not a friendship. Be aware if someone feels like there’s a two-way relationship without evidence.
Album Debut and Fearless
Success immediately put the song on the Billboard Country Singles list for eight months. Swift, 16, released her self-titled first album and toured with Rascal Flatts. Swift opened for George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill on tour and was certified platinum in 2007 for selling over one million US copies. After a year as country music’s biggest young star, Swift won the CMA Horizon Award for best new artist in November.
With her second album, Fearless (2008), Swift appealed to pop listeners without sacrificing her country roots. Fearless topped the Billboard 200 in its first week with nearly 500,000 sales. It led that chart longer than any album that decade. The digital market adored “You Belong with Me” and “Love Story,” which had over four million paid downloads.
In December 2023, Time named Swift “Person of the Year”. Finalists included Barbie, Putin, and Altman. She won after Spotify declared her the most-played artist. Bloomberg estimates Swift’s wealth at $1.1 billion. Swift ranked fifth on Forbes’ 2023 Powerful Women list. October 2023 was her first date with Travis Kelce.