Taylor Swift earned her spot at the top as an honorary NYU doctorate holder, 12-time Grammy award winner, Primetime Emmy award winner, 40-time American Music Award winner, 29-time Billboard Music award winner, 23-time MTV video music award winner and record holder in the charts.
Swift is in a league of her own, breaking records left and right. The only competition left is herself.
Last Friday, Swift dropped a re-recorded version of her fifth studio album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” The long-awaited album was a massive hit when it was originally released in 2014, ushering Swift from country music into the pop music realm.
Within the first 24 hours of its release, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” became the most-streamed album in one day so far in 2023 on Spotify. The last album to achieve such a feat was Swift’s tenth studio album, “Midnights,” which was released in October 2022.
Swift’s decision to re-record her first six albums came after the label she initially signed with in 2005, Big Machine Records, was sold to Ithaca Holdings, a private equity group owned by music manager Scooter Braun. Braun ended up selling Swift’s master recordings to Shamrock Holdings for $300 million without allowing Swift to make an offer to purchase them herself.
Swift took to Tumblr in 2019 to condemn the sale to Braun and promised to re-record her albums and bury the past. Swift’s version ended up becoming more successful than the old masters would ever be able to amount to, and her catalog is now worth about $500 million. Bruce Springsteen is one of the only other artists to have their work at such a high value.
Swift is now a reported billionaire, becoming the first-ever musician to earn billionaire status from her catalog and performances. Additionally, she took home $190 million from the first leg of her Eras Tour and $35 million from the first two weeks of profits from her blockbuster film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” after taxes.
Her new version of “1989” is the fourth of her albums to be re-recorded. In February 2021, Swift took to Instagram to announce her first re-recording, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” The re-recorded album had 143 million streams one week following its release, becoming Swift's ninth album to go No. 1.
Record labels are hurrying to change contracts to prevent artists from re-recording albums in response to Swift’s massive success. Swift only had to wait five years after a record was released for her to be able to re-record it. Her new label, UMG, has changed all of their artist contracts to make artists wait at least double the time.
Swift would not have been able to reach the amount of success and support for her re-recordings without her fans. She has curated an incredibly devoted and invested fan base. She has built a parasocial relationship, inviting fans into her home for listening parties for her new albums and surprising fans with new albums, meet-and-greets and more.
It is no surprise her beloved fans track her every move, scrounging the internet for hints at what she plans to do next. Her official second account that posts updates and information, Taylor Nation, has 7.1 million followers.
The event of the summer, the Eras Tour, took center stage at 20 stadiums across the United States. The tour is on track to be one of the highest-grossing tours ever, and she hasn’t even finished her international tour yet. The tour brought mass amounts of revenue to each city she visited, bringing in $780 million in ticket sales. Philadelphia in particular saw a rise in tourism brought to the city in part thanks to Swift, according to the Federal Reserve.
The scope of her influence stretches beyond the music industry into the entire entertainment industry. Travis Kelce, a star NFL tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, has been continuously seen with Swift in recent weeks. After she attended one of his games, Kelce gained 1.1 million Instagram followers and saw a 400% increase in jersey sales.
Moving beyond the music industry, Swift released her “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" movie on Oct. 13th. Before the movie’s release, the movie earned $100 million in advance ticket sales, making it the most profitable concert movie in history. After its release, the movie reached No. 1 at the box office, solidifying Swift’s legacy as an icon throughout the entire entertainment industry.
Swift still has plans to re-release “Reputation” and her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” to finally personally own all her work, original masters or not. Whether or not you like her music, it’s impossible to deny Swift's massive and positive nationwide impact.
Franchesca Reuter is an Opinion Editor. She is a junior studying journalism and communication arts. Ella Dunnigan is a junior studying political science and community and nonprofit leadership. Do you agree that Taylor Swift is drastically changing the music industry? Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org