A Massive Year for a Massive Woman in Pop Music

By Sydney Jean Gottfried

Two weeks ago, I trekked down to Atlanta, Georgia and with my best friend in tow, I attended what could only be described as the most epic confetti-worthy girl pop extravaganza of my wildest dreams—Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. Just one of 56,000 fans filling the expansive Georgia Dome to capacity, I lost all concept of time and space as Swift brought her 2014 blockbuster album, 1989, into all its blaring reality. In the course of the two hour show, I danced, I (almost) cried, I fell down the stairs when Tove Lo came out as a special guest, and I literally almost lost my left eyeball on account of holding my eyes so far open for such an extended period of time.

Entirely unashamedly, I will admit that this was my fifth time seeing Taylor Swift in concert. I’ve followed the onetime teenage country singer through five albums, four world tours, and seven Grammys. But on that Saturday night in Atlanta, even I, a true “Swifty,” couldn’t help but stand in awe of the pop megakingdom Ms. Swift had amassed in the year following her first pop album’s release.

Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, was released on October 27th, 2014—a time when most artists believed that the era of selling albums was dead. Experts in the music industry said Taylor wouldn’t sell one million copies in the album’s first week, even though both her previous two albums had already accomplished the feat. Many, including Taylor’s own record label, Big Machine Records, feared the star would lose fans and sales by officially making the move from country music and labeling herself as a “pop” artist.

One year later, Taylor Swift has proved the industry, her own label, and the world wrong.  In 52 weeks and with only one album, a look at what Ms. Swift has accomplished:

By the numbers, Taylor Swift’s 1989 has:

·      Sold 1.287 million copies in its first week on sale

·      Sold 5.35 million copies total worldwide

·      Reigned 11 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200

·      Spent 52 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200

·      Sold 14.9 individual tracks

·      Produced 5 #1 singles

·      Grossed $185.4 million on the 1989 World Tour with an attendance of more than 1.67 million fans

So what can those of us who (sadly) aren’t going to be popstars anytime soon learn from the woman who turned a childhood dream into an empire? Be the driving force behind your own career and follow your intuition.

 Swift has said publicly stated that her record label did not support her choice to make a pop album, but that she felt it was the right move for her career, so she made it anyways. Swift is a woman who listens to her gut and goes with it. In 2014, she famously removed her entire catalog from Spotify and other streaming services because she felt the streaming model did not fairly compensate artists. She felt the same way about Apple Music and wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who reversed the streaming service’s compensation policy by the next day.

As any savvy businesswoman should be, Taylor Swift is not afraid to take risks, to make her own decisions, or to change. Taylor said it best herself on three time Grammy-nominated Shake it Off, “I make the moves up as I go, and that’s what they don’t know.”