Taylor Swift…The Peak Years (Updated)

Three years ago, I wrote an article about Taylor Swift and The Beatles.  She had broken one of their records on the U.K. album chart.  That was just after Swift had released Folklore, Evermore, and Fearless (Taylor’s Version).  Since that time, Taylor Swift’s life seems to have gotten as chaotic as Beatlemania must have been for John, Paul, George & Ringo.

Above are the eight albums Taylor Swift has released from July 2020 through April 2024.  All 8 of the albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and broke a bunch of sales and streaming records.  Her new total of 14 #1 albums makes her second only to The Beatles’ 19 #1’s.  If the quality of her albums wasn’t high, her sales would drop off (if buyers were disappointed with what they heard).  Instead, her whole catalog is selling extremely well.

The sheer volume of her recording output is astonishing.  Yes, four of her last eight albums are re-recordings (Taylor’s Versions), but imagine the effort it takes to recreate intricate recordings that her longtime fans know intimately.  Besides, there are enough new songs on her four re-recorded albums to fill two new albums.  So…in less than 5 years…Swift has released the equivalent of six new albums (really 7 since Tortured Poets is a double), and four re-recorded albums.

During that same time she wrote and directed her own music videos, and two of them won “Video Of The Year” awards.  Also, for six months of that time she trained & rehearsed for a concert performance that lasts nearly 3-and-a-half hours.  She performed as many as six shows in seven days, and did 66 concerts in 2023.  Is she twins?!

(Nice shirt)

What’s happening with Taylor Swift is extremely similar to what happened with The Beatles.  They had the top 5 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.  Taylor Swift had the entire top 10 on that chart in 2022.  The method for measuring such things has changed, but the two feats are similar, and no one else has ever owned the whole top 10 before or since (except Taylor).

On the album chart, no other artist (while living) has ever had five albums simultaneously in the top 10.  Swift has done it multiple times.  On the album sales chart Swift is the only person to have the top 4, and the only artist to have 7 of the top 10.  Swift is second only to The Beatles for the number of weeks topping the Billboard 200 album chart.  She has 73 weeks at the top (5/19/24), and they have what may be an unbreakable record of 132 weeks.

That kind of dominance also shows up with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.  She has the only tour to earn over 1-Billion dollars.  She did it in 66 stadium concerts over 9-months.  The second-biggest tour of all time was by Elton John.  He earned 939-million-dollars in 330 concerts over 5-years.  Swift not only sold more tickets than her friends, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran, her tour made more than both of them combined last year.  And, Swift is only about half done with the tour!

The Eras Tour movie made over 261-million-dollars in theaters.  It also made a bundle as a rental.  It started streaming March 14th, 2024 on Disney+.  They reportedly paid $75-million for the rights.  The film only cost an estimated 10-to-20-million to make, so it’s generated a huge profit.  The streaming version has five additional songs…”Cardigan” and four acoustic performances.  Swift doesn’t need an idea for another album, but a collection of her best solo acoustic performances from the Eras Tour would make a great one.

Taylor Swift is the only entertainer ever named Time’s Person Of The Year.  The honor wasn’t only because of all the records she was setting in 2023, but because her tour was adding billions of dollars to the world’s economy.  She gives millions of dollars to food banks and other charities (a million dollars went to Nashville after a recent tornado). She also gave 55-million dollars in bonuses to all the performers, technicians, and truck drivers who are touring with her.

When Swift attends an NFL game to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, the TV ratings go up.  That means more revenue for TV and the NFL.  Some football fans resent that Swift is shown on camera, but she really isn’t shown more than some relatives & friends of other players, or for that matter crazy-dressed fans and the back of player’s helmets.  Swift has been shown for an average of about 30-seconds total per game, and according to Apex Marketing Group, Taylor supporting her boyfriend has generated over 331-million-dollars for the NFL brand.

Update: (2/11/24)

Mastermind Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl planning for the Chiefs to score the winning touchdown on the 13th play of the final drive during the 13th Kansas City game she attended.  This Super Bowl had over 123-million viewers.  That’s the most-watched TV show since the moon landing.  Guess it was “Taylor’s Version”.  CBS showed her for a total of 54-seconds during the game broadcast.

With the past few years being so huge for Swift, she is definitely in the over-exposure danger zone.  There have been some negative articles written about her recently.  They’re not about anything specifically that she’s done, they’re just the natural reaction to extreme popularity.  The same thing happened to The Beatles, Elton John, and a lot of other artists.  Most of the 2024 portion of Swift’s tour is in other parts of the world, so that may somewhat dial down the swirl of media coverage in the U.S.

Taylor Swift started performing as a teenager over 17 years ago, and her songwriting has developed to the point that her lyrics are reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s style.  They can be clever & complicated.  Swift has performed over 160 of her songs during the Eras Tour.  How does she keep all of those lyrics in her head?

This string of albums (maybe adding two re-recorded albums and one new album in 2024), plus the finalization of the Eras Tour, will likely mark the peak of Taylor Swift’s music career.  No one could keep up that pace!  It would make sense that she would want to devote time to her budding film career, or maybe even start a family.

There were four Beatles who helped each other handle the fame.  Taylor Swift is the sole focus of this mania, so she must have a great support staff, as well as friends and family to help her.

Honestly, it’s practically unbelievable what she has accomplished.  Four years ago, no one, not even “Mastermind” Taylor Swift, could have predicted the dizzying heights her career has reached.

Update:  Taylor Swift shocked fans with 31 song Anthology!

The album of all new songs was released April 19th, 2024, and promptly set records for physical sales and for streaming.  The album hit #1 immediately, and Swift had the top 14 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.  Taylor held the previous record with all of the Top 10 singles when Midnights was released.

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