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BREAKING NEWS: The record-smashing singer-songwriter wields creative, commercial and celebrity power like no one before. As her billion-dollar Eras tour lands in the UK, we trace the making of the Swift universe…Full story below

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BREAKING NEWS: The record-smashing singer-songwriter wields creative, commercial and celebrity power like no one before. As her billion-dollar Eras tour lands in the UK, we trace the making of the Swift universe...Full story below

 

In this universe, from news stories about her latest Swiftonomics milestone, to fan theories shared and dissected at light-speed, to university courses and symposia, the mass of Swift exegesis is weighty. This is, yes, yet another op-ed to toss on to a vast pile, but still it remains worth examining the phenomenon of a singer-songwriter who has become far, far more than just that.

 

BREAKING NEWS: The record-smashing singer-songwriter wields creative, commercial and celebrity power like no one before. As her billion-dollar Eras tour lands in the UK, we trace the making of the Swift universe...Full story below

Swift’s fans cheer so loudly they twice registered as an earthquake on the Richter scale in the US last year. Donald Trump allies have threatened to wage “holy war” against Swift if she endorses Joe Biden for the US presidency. “Biggest gangsta in the music game right now,” Drake recently called her.

Drake considers Swift his only real competition but really, it’s not even close. A number-soup of statistics, of umpteen records broken and most-streamed this, or online reach that, supports Swift’s dominance. Her Eras tour looks set to be the highest-grossing of all time, tilting the financial tectonics of entire cities: Barclays has estimated that her shows here might be worth £1bn to the UK economy.

The Swift lift is real: she has made American football, that most popular US sport, even more popular. Her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, plays for the Kansas City Chiefs; it’s been calculated that Swift has generated an additional $331.5m for the NFL between 24 September last year and 22 January this year.

What’s even more remarkable is how Swift manages to be a significant geopolitical and macroeconomic disrupter, while simultaneously cultivating an insightful, sensitive relatability. She is “your billionaire best friend”, according to Georgia Carroll, who spoke at the recent Australian Swiftposium; a star who made her money on the back of her songwriting (not by diversifying her portfolio into drinks, makeup or NFTs) and by leveraging the obsessiveness of her fans to consume multiple formats of her output. “My Pennies Made Your Crown” completes the keynote speech’s title (it’s a Taylor Swift lyric); Carroll’s thesis examined what expenditure does to cultural capital within the fan community.

Swift has been likened to a capitalist role model thanks to endless limited edition releases and merch drops, and her indefatigable work ethic: she has released five studio albums in the past five years, alongside four complete Taylor’s Version re-recordings. (Recently, Billie Eilish called out as “wasteful” unnamed other pop stars releasing multiple colors of the same vinyl record; Eilish’s vinyl is recycled.)

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