Thursday, July 11, 2024

Why is Taylor Swift the TIME Person of the Year?

Every year, since 1927, Time magazine names a ‘Person of the Year’, and the world eagerly looks forward to this annual announcement.

As it selects from a longlist of world leaders, social activists, religious and cultural figures, scientists and Nobel Prize winners, there is always a huge speculation on who would be announced.

So, when the singer Taylor Swift was declared the ‘Person of the Year 2023’, it surprised many who never thought, in their ‘wildest dreams’ (it's one of her song titles) that a musician would make it.









She was chosen over other phenomenal 2023 newsmakers whose shortlist included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, King Charles III of UK, Trump prosecutors, Sam Altman, Jerome Powell, Barbie, and Hollywood strikers.

In nearly 100 years, Taylor Swift has become the first ever “musician”, to win this honour.

But why is this singer – who turned 34 on December 13, a week after TIME’s announcement - chosen over several other big names? What makes her special? What reasons justify this choice?

Well, there are many. In October 2023, for instance, she became ’a billionaire’. Her net worth went up to an estimated $1.1 bn.  There are some other musicians whose net-worth is more than hers, but their wealth comes from other investments, and not primarily from music.

According to billboard.com, in just the year 2023, until December 7, she has gotten approximately $1.82 billion in music sales and royalties, concert tickets, merchandise sales at concerts and movie ticket sales!

In her most expansive ‘Eras Tour’, she gave 151 concerts across five continents in just this one year - 2023.  Each of her concerts is said to have had between 50,000 to 75,000 fans attending.

Rollingstone.com said, “Taylor Swift‘s Eras Tour is the highest-grossing concert tour of all time!” It based its data on a live music trade publication, Pollstar, which also declared the tour to be the first ever to gross at least $1 billion.

With this, Taylor Swift dethroned Elton John’s years-long ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour for the top spot.  Elton John’s tour had grossed $939 Million with 6 million tickets. But, his tour was a five-year tour. Hers was less than a year.

Even a movie ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’, that's made on her tour, produced by her and directed by Sam Wrench, has itself grossed $250 million at the global box office.

With her movie, she smashed box office records, mainly by bypassing Hollywood studios and by working directly with the theater chain AMC, with a deal that many musicians did not dare make.

According to TIME magazine, the movie “broke AMC’s single-day advance ticket sales record by bringing in $26 million within 24 hours of the movie going on sale” (TIME, 6 Dec 2023).

This week, by the end of 2023 that is, Taylor Swift has broken Elvis Presley’s long-held record for most weeks spent No 1 on the Billboard album chart as a solo artist, setting a new record of 68 weeks. And she also holds the record for the most albums to debut at No. 1 consecutively, for 13 weeks.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, she released a surprise indie folk album, ‘folklore and evermore’, which was a reflection on social isolation.

In partnership with Google, she recently created online puzzles that revealed track titles of her songs that she put together as a new album ‘from the vault’. While publicizing her songs, this boosted her sales as well as raised her standing in search-engine trends. 

It is clear that her craft, as a songwriter, recording artist, stage performer, image builder, and a business woman, makes her truly deserving of all this global recognition.