Untouchable: Taylor Swift’s Impact on Pop Culture
Discover Taylor Swift’s evolution from country darling to pop superstar and the way she’s reshaped the music industry along the way.
By bonneville on June 28, 2023
Superstar Taylor Swift, the legendary singer and songwriter, is currently embarking on her sixth world tour, Eras. When tickets first went on sale in November, she nearly broke the internet, causing Live Nation to crash and several lawsuits to follow. People reported waiting for hours in queue to secure their seats, and millions have since seen her perform across stadiums and huge venues nationwide. She has added more international dates since starting the tour and is scheduled to perform until late August 2024.
Swift has won numerous awards and accolades, including 12 Grammy Awards, 40 American Music Awards, 29 Billboard Music Awards, 12 Country Music Association Awards, and 98 Guinness World Records. She is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, having sold over 200 million records, and is the most streamed musician on Spotify. Let’s look at how she’s made her mark on pop culture to become one of the most popular artists of our generation.
The Creation of Swifties
Swift is known for connecting to her fans through social media and in person. She regularly talks to people in the audience at shows and replies to comments, giving her a unique bond with Swifties – the term used by her fans as a play on the word “bestie,” which is now trademarked by Swift. Her interactions, surprise events, and charitable giving have created a sense of community among fans.
“You have the best fans in the world,” Trevor Noah told Taylor Swift in February. “What they did with Ticketmaster… is amazing. I’m just wondering, once they’re done with this, can you get them to handle the price of eggs?”
This internet sensation quickly rose in popularity as Taylor responded, “There’s really nothing that they can’t accomplish. They’ll get on it; just let them know what you need.” (Egg prices did drop soon after, though her influence on the matter is debatable.)
Her Departure from Country Music
Taylor Swift’s departure from country music into the pop genre marked a significant turning point in her career and solidified her status as a versatile and boundary-pushing artist. After gaining immense success in the country music scene with chart-topping hits like “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me,” Swift made a bold artistic shift with her 2012 album “Red.” Embracing a more pop-infused sound, she captivated listeners with infectious hooks, catchy melodies, and relatable lyrics that resonated with a broader audience.
This transition showcased Swift’s willingness to explore new musical territories and demonstrated her ability to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the music industry. She has continued to expand and bend genres at her will. From her indie- and alt-rock releases “Folklore” and “Evermore” to her most recent release, “Midnights,” which experiments with electronic downtempo music, she continues to grow in popularity.
Taking Control of Her Work
Swift is also not shy about taking ownership of her work. In 2014 and 2015, Swift openly criticized both Spotify and Apple Music for not paying royalties to their artists and removed her albums from Spotify. She didn’t release her catalog on Google Play, Amazon Music, or Spotify until 2017.
She also received a lot of coverage for her dispute with her former record label, Big Red Machine, over the ownership of the masters of her first six albums. When the two parties could not reach an agreement, Swift re-recorded the songs and released “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” to critical and commercial success. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” will be released on July 7th. The ordeal has prompted many in the industry to speak out about the ethics of music ownership, encouraging artists to advocate for their intellectual property rights.
The Eras Tour broke the record for the most concert tickets sold in a single day, selling 2 million tickets. The tour started in March and runs through August of this year. A museum exhibit in New York recently opened with her costumes and set designs on display, trying to appease fans who could not make it to the tour but still want an intimate view of her work and legacy.
Though Taylor Swift visited Utah for concerts three times in 2009, 2011, and 2015, she is not stopping in Salt Lake City to perform this time. That doesn’t mean Utahns are not going, though: heavy traffic was reported on I-15 when she played in Vegas, and there could potentially be a surge of Swifties who travel to Denver or California for her final US dates this summer.