In the last decade, we have seen an unprecedented level of influence on social media and online platforms. The millennial generation has led to a spike in digital usage, as this generation is glued to their smartphones and social media accounts. This has given rise to many celebrities who are known for their online presence; Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. And one such celebrity is Taylor Swift. She is one of the top-selling music artists in the digital era. With over 200 million followers across her social media channels, she has grown from a local country music singer to an international pop icon. Her album “1989” sold more than 1 million copies in its first week of release, setting the record for highest first-week sales of any album released in 2014. Read on to know more about Taylor Swift’s rise to Fame and Fortune.
How did Taylor Swift make her fortune?
Swift started her music career at a very young age, first releasing her self-titled debut album at 16. Her album was a mix of country and pop, and it did not do as well as expected. Her second album, “Fearless”, saw her move towards her signature pop and country mash-up. This is said to be the album that set her on track to stardom, with the single “You Belong With Me” reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Speak Now” was her next album, and is said to have been when she started to see huge revenues from her music due to an increase in online digital music sales. Her next two albums, “Red” and “1989”, were seen as a departure from her signature country-pop sound towards a more pop-rock-electronic sound. “1989” set multiple records for her, with the album reaching number one on the Billboard charts and staying there for nine weeks. The album was also the top-selling album in the US in 2014, with over 3.5 million copies sold.
Achieving global recognition: “1989” and “Shake It Off”
With her next album, “1989”, Swift made a complete shift from her country-pop roots toward a more pop-rock-electronic sound. With this album, she largely ditched her acoustic guitar sound and started producing pop tracks with heavy EDM and pop-rock influences. It is said that this shift was to help her reach a wider audience and that it was a smart business move. The lead single from the album, “Shake It Off”, became one of the biggest songs of 2014, both in terms of popularity and revenue. The song was downloaded over 8 million times within a year of its release, and it spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. With this single, she managed to completely change her image and make herself relevant in pop culture all over again. Her next three singles from “1989” also did extremely well. “Blank Space” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the songs “Bad Blood” and “Wildest Dreams” both reached the top ten.
Swift is a very private person when it comes to her personal life and political opinions. However, she has come out to publicly support many Democratic candidates and has also made her stance on issues like misogyny and racism very clear. She has donated to multiple Democratic campaigns, and in 2018, she came out to endorse Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen for Senate and Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce for Congress. Swift also spoke out against Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, where she urged her fans to vote Democrat and donate to Planned Parenthood. Although Swift’s political views are not very controversial, they are often heavily criticized, especially by Republican voters and right-wing commentators.
A milestone: Receiving the first EVER Platinum certification for a song on iTunes!
The single “Shake It Off” holds the record for the most digital sales in a single week, with over 2 million copies sold in the seven days after its release. However, a more significant milestone that the song holds is the fact that it became the first Platinum-certified song in history to be downloaded on iTunes. All previous Platinum-certified songs on iTunes were physical copies. This shows that the power of streaming services is on the rise, and that physical sales of music are becoming obsolete.
Swift’s journey from obscurity to stardom is a classic example of what hard work and determination can achieve. While her music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is no denying the fact that she has proven herself to be an extremely shrewd businesswoman. Her sound business decisions, coupled with her ability to adapt to her ever-changing industry, have resulted in her becoming one of the most successful pop stars of the digital era. If you want to make a fortune, start with a dream. And if you want to change the world, start with a message. And if you want to be a musician, start with an instrument. And if you want to be a composer, start with silence. And if you want to change the world, start with now.