Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She is best known for her narrative songwriting that often centers around her personal life, which has received widespread critical praise and media coverage. At age 14, Swift became the youngest artist signed by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house and, at age 15, she signed her first record deal. Her 2006 eponymous debut studio album was the longest-charting album of the 2000s on the Billboard 200. Its third single, "Our Song", made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the BillboardHot Country Songs chart. Swift's breakthrough second studio album, Fearless (2008), won four Grammy Awards and produced the pop-crossover hit singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me". It became the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States and was certified Diamond by the RIAA.
Swift's self-written third studio album, Speak Now (2010), spawned the Grammy-winning single "Mean", and her genre-bending fourth studio album, Red (2012), earned Swift her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". Her fifth studio album and first all-pop project, 1989 (2014), produced the number-one singles "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space" and won three Grammy Awards—including Album of the Year—making Swift the first woman to succeed herself at the top spot on the Hot 100 and the first woman to win Album of the Year twice as lead artist. Her sixth studio album, Reputation (2017), made her the first and only act in music history to have four albums each sell one million copies in their first week in the U.S. and generated her fifth Hot 100 number-one single, "Look What You Made Me Do". Her seventh studio album, Lover (2019), broke the record for the most simultaneous Hot 100 entries by a female artist and became the global best-selling studio album of 2019.
At age nine, Swift became interested in musical theater and performed in four Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions. She also traveled regularly to New York City for vocal and acting lessons. Swift later shifted her focus toward country music, inspired by Shania Twain's songs, which made her "want to just run around the block four times and daydream about everything." She spent weekends performing at local festivals and events. After watching a documentary about Faith Hill, Swift felt sure she needed to move to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a career in music. She traveled with her mother at age eleven to visit Nashville record labels and submitted demo tapes of Dolly Parton and Dixie Chicks karaoke covers. She was rejected, however, because "everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do. So, I kept thinking to myself, I need to figure out a way to be different."
When Swift was approximately 12 years old, computer repairman and local musician Ronnie Cremer taught her to play guitar. He helped with her first efforts as a songwriter, leading to her write "Lucky You". In 2003, Swift and her parents started working with New York-based talent manager Dan Dymtrow. With his help, Swift modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch as part of their "Rising Stars" campaign, had an original song included on a Maybelline compilation CD, and attended meetings with major record labels. After performing original songs at an RCA Records showcase, Swift was given an artist development deal and began making frequent trips to Nashville with her mother.
To help Swift break into country music, her father transferred to Merrill Lynch's Nashville office when she was 14 years old, and the family relocated to a lakefront house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Swift attended Hendersonville High School but transferred to the Aaron Academy after two years, which could better accommodate her touring schedule through homeschooling; she graduated a year early.
2004–2008: Career beginnings and Taylor Swift
In Nashville, Swift worked with experienced Music Row songwriters such as Troy Verges, Brett Beavers, Brett James, Mac McAnally, and the Warren Brothers, and formed a lasting working relationship with Liz Rose. They began meeting for two-hour writing sessions every Tuesday afternoon after school. Rose thought the sessions were "Some of the easiest I've ever done. Basically, I was just her editor. She'd write about what happened in school that day. She had such a clear vision of what she was trying to say. And she'd come in with the most incredible hooks." Swift became the youngest artist signed by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house but left the Sony-owned RCA Records at the age of 14. She later said: "I genuinely felt that I was running out of time. I wanted to capture these years of my life on an album while they still represented what I was going through."
At an industry showcase at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe in 2005, Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, a DreamWorks Records executive who was preparing to form an independent record label, Big Machine Records. She had first met Borchetta in 2004. Swift became one of Big Machine's first signings, and her father purchased a three-percent stake in the company for an estimated $120,000. She began working on her eponymous debut album shortly after. Swift persuaded Big Machine to hire her demo producer Nathan Chapman, with whom she felt she had the right "chemistry". She wrote three of the album's songs alone, and co-wrote the remaining eight with Rose, Robert Ellis Orrall, Brian Maher, and Angelo Petraglia.Taylor Swift was released on October 24, 2006. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times described it as "a small masterpiece of pop-minded country, both wide-eyed and cynical, held together by Ms. Swift's firm, pleading voice."Taylor Swift peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States, spending 157 weeks there—the longest stay on the chart by any release in the U.S. that decade. As of August 2016, the album had sold over 7.75 million copies worldwide.
Big Machine Records was still in its infancy during the June 2006 release of the lead single, "Tim McGraw". Swift and her mother helped "stuff the CD singles into envelopes to send to radio." She spent much of 2006 promoting Taylor Swift with a radio tour, television appearances, and opening for Rascal Flatts on select dates during their 2006 tour after they fired their previous opening act, Eric Church, for playing longer than his allotted time. Church jokingly told Swift she should give him her first gold record as thanks for getting fired. She sent him her first gold record with a note that said, "Thanks for playing too long and too loud on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it. Taylor."
Borchetta said that although record industry peers initially disapproved of his signing a 16-year-old singer-songwriter, Swift tapped into a previously unknown market—teenage girls who listen to country music. Following "Tim McGraw", four more singles were released throughout 2007 and 2008: "Teardrops on My Guitar", "Our Song", "Picture to Burn" and "Should've Said No". All were successful on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in the United States, with "Our Song", and "Should've Said No" reaching number one. With "Our Song", Swift became the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the chart. "Teardrops on My Guitar" reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart in the United States. Swift also released the holiday album Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection in October 2007 and the EP Beautiful Eyes in July 2008. She promoted her debut album extensively as the opening act for other artists on their tours.
Swift's second studio album, Fearless, was released on November 11, 2008. The lead single, "Love Story", was released in September 2008. It peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one in Australia. Four more singles were released throughout 2008 and 2009: "White Horse", "You Belong with Me", "Fifteen" and "Fearless". "You Belong with Me" was the album's highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number two. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and was the top-selling album of 2009 in the United States. Swift's first concert tour, the Fearless Tour, promoted the album and grossed over $63 million.Journey to Fearless, a three-part documentary miniseries, was aired on television and later released on DVD and Blu-ray. Swift also performed as a supporting act for Keith Urban's Escape Together World Tour.
Swift made her TV acting debut in a 2009 episode of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing a rebellious teenager. The New York Times noted the character allowed Swift to be "a little bit naughty, and credibly so". Later that year, Swift both hosted and performed as the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live and was the first host to write their own opening monologue.Entertainment Weekly described her as "this season's best Saturday Night Live host so far", noting she "was always up for the challenge, seemed to be having fun, and helped the rest of the cast nail the punchlines".
2010–2014: Speak Now and Red
In August 2010, Swift released "Mine", the lead single from her third studio album, Speak Now. It entered the U.S. charts at number three, making Swift the second female artist in the history of the Hot 100 (after Mariah Carey) to debut multiple tracks in the top five in one year; the other was "Today Was a Fairytale" at number two. Swift wrote the album alone and co-produced every track.Speak Now, released on October 25, 2010, was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, and becoming the 16th album in chart history to achieve opening week sales of one million copies. It became the fastest-selling digital album by a female artist, with 278,000 downloads in a week, earning Swift an entry in the 2010 Guinness World Records. She earned a second entry after she became the first woman to achieve 10 track debuts on the Billboard Hot 100. Three of the album's singles, "Mine", "Back to December", and "Mean", peaked in the top ten in Canada, while in the U.S., the earlier two along with the title track peaked in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. Later in 2010, she briefly dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
"Mean" won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Swift performed it during the ceremony. Claire Suddath of Time felt she "delivered her comeback on-key and with a vengeance"; Jayme Deerwester of USA Today wrote that the criticism in 2010 seemed to have "made her a better songwriter and live performer". Swift won other awards for Speak Now, including Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association (2010 and 2011), Woman of the Year by Billboard (2011), and Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music (2011 and 2012) and the Country Music Association in 2011. At the American Music Awards of 2011, Swift won Artist of the Year and Favorite Country Album.Rolling Stone placed Speak Now at number 45 in its 2012 list of the "50 Best Female Albums of All Time", writing: "She might get played on the country station, but she's one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days, with a flawless ear for what makes a song click."
Red was released on October 22, 2012, incorporating new genres for Swift, such as heartland rock, dubstep and dance-pop. The album was a critical and commercial success and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.21 million copies. This marked the highest opening sales in a decade in the United States, and made Swift the first female to have two million-selling album openings, a record recognized by the Guinness World Records.The Red Tour ran from March 2013 to June 2014 and grossed over $150 million; it broke the ticket sales record in China with all 18,000 tickets sold in 60 seconds.Red earned several accolades, including four nominations at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Its single "I Knew You Were Trouble" won Best Female Video at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Swift was named Best Female Country Artist at the 2012 American Music Awards and Artist of the Year at the 2013 ceremony. She received the Nashville Songwriters Association's Songwriter/Artist Award for the fifth and sixth consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. Swift was also honored by the Association with a special Pinnacle Award, making her the second recipient of the accolade after Garth Brooks. During this time, she had a short-term relationship with British singer Harry Styles.
In March 2014, Swift relocated to New York City. Around this time, she was working on her fifth studio album, 1989, with co-writers Antonoff, Max Martin, Shellback, Imogen Heap, Ryan Tedder, and Ali Payami. She promoted the album through various campaigns, including inviting fans to secret album-listening sessions. Credited as her "first documented, official pop album", it marked a departure from her country albums. The album was released on October 27, 2014, to positive reviews.
1989 sold 1.28 million copies in the U.S. during the first week of its release and debuted atop the Billboard 200. This made Swift the first act to have three albums sell more than one million copies in their opening week, for which she earned another Guinness World Record. By the end of 2014, she became the first act since The Beatles to have four consecutive studio albums log at least six weeks atop the Billboard 200. As of June 2017, 1989 had sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The lead single, "Shake It Off", was released in August 2014 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album generated two additional number-one singles—"Blank Space" and "Bad Blood (featuring Kendrick Lamar)"—as well as the top-ten entries "Style" and "Wildest Dreams", and other singles "Out of the Woods" and "New Romantics". "Shake It Off", "Blank Space", and "Bad Blood" also topped the charts in Australia and Canada. After "Blank Space" reached number one in the U.S. immediately following "Shake It Off", Swift became the first woman in Hot 100 history to succeed herself at the top spot. The music video for "Blank Space" was briefly the fastest video to reach one billion views on Vevo. The video for "Bad Blood" broke Vevo's 24-hour viewing record and won Video of the Year and Best Collaboration at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.The 1989 World Tour ran from May to December 2015, grossed over $250 million, broke a number of touring records, and was highest-grossing tour of the year.
Swift was named Billboard's Woman of the Year in 2014, becoming the first artist to win the award twice. That year she also received the Dick Clark Award for Excellence at the American Music Awards. In 2015, Swift won the Brit Award for International Female Solo Artist. Swift was one of eight artists to receive a 50th Anniversary Milestone Award at the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards. In 2016, she won three Grammy Awards for 1989—Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Music Video for "Bad Blood". She became the first woman and fifth act overall to win the first of these twice as a lead artist, as well as the first act to do so with albums of different genres.
In August 2017, Swift successfully sued David Mueller, a former morning show personality for Denver's KYGO-FM. Four years earlier, Swift had informed Mueller's bosses that he had sexually assaulted her by groping her at an event. After being fired, Mueller accused Swift of lying and sued her for damages from his loss of employment. Shortly after, Swift counter-sued for sexual assault for a dollar. The jury rejected Mueller's claims and ruled in favor of Swift. Swift thereafter cleared her social media accounts and then released "Look What You Made Me Do" as the lead single from her sixth album, Reputation. The song topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. Its music video had over 43.2 million views during its first day on YouTube, breaking the site's record for the most-viewed music video in 24 hours. In October, Swift released the album's second single "...Ready for It?", which charted at number three in Australia and at number four in the U.S.
Two promotional singles were released from Reputation, "Gorgeous" and "Call It What You Want". "Gorgeous" later became the album's fifth single in Europe. The album was released in November and sold 1.21 million copies in the United States, becoming the country's top-selling album in 2017. With this achievement, she became the first act to have four albums sell one million copies within one week in the U.S. The album topped the charts in several countries, including the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. First-week worldwide sales amounted to two million copies.Reputation saw Swift take a new direction, musically; the album is noted for its more urban sound and hip hop and EDM influences.
Later that month, Swift performed "...Ready for It?" and "Call It What You Want" on Saturday Night Live. "End Game", featuring Ed Sheeran and rapper Future, followed in November as the third single and peaked at number 18 in the U.S. Other singles from the album include "New Year's Day", released exclusively to country radio, and sleeper hit "Delicate".
In April 2018, Swift featured on Sugarland's "Babe" from their album Bigger.[a] In support of Reputation, she embarked on her critically acclaimed Reputation Stadium Tour from May to November 2018. The tour broke multiple venue attendance and gross earnings records in the U.S., taking in $266.1 million and selling more than two million tickets. Swift broke her own record for the highest-grossing domestic tour by a woman,[b] as well as the record for the highest-grossing North American concert tour in history. Worldwide, the tour grossed $345.7 million, making it the second highest-grossing concert tour of the year. At the American Music Awards of 2018, Swift won Tour of the Year, Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Album for Reputation. With a total of 23 awards, she became the most awarded female winner in AMA history, a record previously held by Whitney Houston.
Reputation was Swift's last album under her 12-year contract with Big Machine Records. In November 2018, she signed a new multi-album deal with Big Machine's distributor Universal Music Group; in the U.S., her subsequent releases were promoted under the Republic Records imprint. Swift said the contract included a provision for her to maintain ownership of her master recordings. In addition, in the event that Universal sells any part of its stake in Spotify, Spotify agreed to distribute a non-recoupable portion of the proceeds among their artists. In late November, Big Machine Records released a Reputation Stadium Tour playlist for streaming services. The playlist includes every song performed on B-stages during the Reputation Stadium Tour. On December 31, Reputation Stadium Tour, a concert film, was released on Netflix to critical acclaim.
In April 2019, Swift released "Me!", featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco as the lead single from her seventh studio album, Lover. The song debuted at number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 three days after its release and jumped to number two the following week—the biggest single-week jump in chart history. The music video for "Me!" broke the overall female and Vevo 24-hour viewing record, amassing 65.2 million views within its first day of release. However, the song received mixed reviews and Swift removed a "much-maligned" lyric of the song from the album. In June, she released the second single "You Need to Calm Down", which debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, marking her 15th top 10 debut, the most among women. In July, she released a promotional single from the album, "The Archer". The title track, the album's third single, became her third consecutive Hot 100 top-10 single from the album.
Lover was released on August 23 to positive reviews and debuted atop the Billboard 200 with a first-week tally of 867,000 units, including 679,000 copies sold, making Swift the first female artist in history to have six albums sell more than 500,000 copies in a single week. It also sold more copies than the other 199 albums on the chart combined that week. The album's 18 songs all entered the Billboard Hot 100, setting a new record for the most simultaneous chart entries for a female artist. At the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, the videos for "Me!" and "You Need to Calm Down" received twelve nominations. "Me!" won Best Visual Effects, and "You Need to Calm Down" won Video of the Year—making Swift the first female and second artist overall to win the award for a video that they co-directed—and Video for Good. Swift was the opening performer at the award ceremony. By the end of 2019, Lover became the year's best-selling physical album in the U.S. and the best-selling album by a female artist worldwide. Swift was named the global best-selling artist of the year by the IFPI and became the first woman to win the honor twice, having previously won in 2014.
In June 2019, Big Machine Records, Swift's former record label, was acquired by talent manager Scooter Braun, a purchase that included the masters for her first six studio albums. In a Tumblr post, Swift sharply criticized the transaction, stating she had been trying to buy the masters for years, and described Braun as an "incessant, manipulative bully". In August, Swift announced plans to rerecord the albums in November 2020. In November, Swift said that Braun and Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta had blocked her from performing her older songs at the 2019 American Music Awards and from using older material for her Netflix documentary Miss Americana. Big Machine denied both allegations and said it was owed "millions of dollars and multiple assets" by Swift. In response, Swift's representatives released correspondence showing a Big Machine executive refusing to grant licenses for the documentary, and stated that Big Machine owed Swift nearly $8 million in unpaid royalties. On November 18, Big Machine issued a statement saying it had "agreed to grant all licenses of their artists' performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms" for the American Music Awards, though it did not mention Swift by name. Swift won six American Music Awards that year, including Artist of the Decade for the 2010s. In April 2020, Big Machine released Live from Clear Channel Stripped 2008, a live album of a 2008 radio show performance. Swift said she did not authorize the release.
One of Swift's earliest musical memories is listening to her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay, sing in church. As a child, she enjoyed Disney film soundtracks: "My parents noticed that, once I had run out of words, I would just make up my own". Swift has said she owes her confidence to her mother, who helped her prepare for class presentations as a child. She also attributes her "fascination with writing and storytelling" to her mother. Swift was drawn to the storytelling aspect of country music, and was introduced to the genre listening to "the great female country artists of the '90s"—Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks." Twain, both as a songwriter and performer, was her biggest musical influence. Hill was Swift's childhood role model: "Everything she said, did, wore, I tried to copy it". She admired the Dixie Chicks' defiant attitude and their ability to play their own instruments. The band's "Cowboy Take Me Away" was the first song Swift learned to play on the guitar. Swift also explored the music of older country stars, including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. She believes Parton is "an amazing example to every female songwriter out there".Alt-country artists like Ryan Adams,Patty Griffin and Lori McKenna have also inspired Swift.
Swift lists Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones,Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Carly Simon as her career role models. Discussing McCartney and Harris, Swift has said, "They've taken chances, but they've also been the same artist for their entire careers". McCartney, both as a Beatle and a solo artist, makes Swift feel "as if I've been let into his heart and his mind [...] He's out there continuing to make his fans so happy. Any musician could only dream of a legacy like that." She likes Springsteen for being "so musically relevant after such a long period of time". She aspires to be like Harris as she grows older because of prioritizing music over fame. Swift says of Kristofferson that he "shines in songwriting", and admires Simon for being "an emotional" but "a strong person".
Swift's music contains elements of pop,synth-pop,country,country pop and rock. She described herself as a country artist until the 2014 release of 1989, which she characterized as a "sonically cohesive pop album".Rolling Stone wrote: "[Swift] might get played on the country station, but she's one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days." According to The New York Times, "There isn't much in Ms. Swift's music to indicate country—a few banjo strums, a pair of cowboy boots worn onstage, a bedazzled guitar—but there's something in her winsome, vulnerable delivery that's unique to Nashville."The Guardian wrote that Swift "cranks melodies out with the pitiless efficiency of a Scandinavian pop factory."
Swift's vocals were described by Sophie Schillaci of The Hollywood Reporter as "sweet, but soft". The Los Angeles Times identified Swift's "defining" vocal gesture in studio recordings as "the line that slides down like a contented sigh or up like a raised eyebrow, giving her beloved girl-time hits their air of easy intimacy".Rolling Stone, in a Speak Now review, wrote: "Swift's voice is unaffected enough to mask how masterful she has become as a singer; she lowers her voice for the payoff lines in the classic mode of a shy girl trying to talk tough." In another review of Speak Now, The Village Voice wrote that her phrasing was previously "bland and muddled, but that's changed. She can still sound strained and thin, and often strays into a pitch that drives some people crazy; but she's learned how to make words sound like what they mean."NPR Music described her singing as personal and conversational thanks to her "exceptional gift for inflection", but also suffers from a "wobbly pitch and tight, nasal delivery".The Hollywood Reporter wrote that her live vocals are "fine", but they do not match those of her peers. Swift has been praised for refusing to correct her pitch with Auto-Tune.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Swift characterized herself primarily as a songwriter: "I write songs, and my voice is just a way to get those lyrics across." A writer for The Tennessean conceded in 2010 that Swift is "not the best technical singer", but described her as the "best communicator that we've got". Swift's vocal presence is something that concerns her and she has "put a lot of work" into improving it. It was reported in 2010 that she continues to take vocal lessons. She has said that she only feels nervous performing "if I'm not sure what the audience thinks of me, like at award shows".
Swift uses her life experiences as an inspiration in her work. She often addresses the "anonymous crushes of her high school years" and celebrities in her early songs. Swift frequently criticizes ex-boyfriends, an aspect of her songwriting downplayed by The Village Voice: "Being told What Songs Mean is like having a really pushy professor. And it imperils a true appreciation of Swift's talent, which is not confessional, but dramatic." However, New York believes the media scrutiny over her decision to "mine her personal life for music ... is sexist, inasmuch as it's not asked of her male peers". Swift said that not all of her songs are factual and they are sometimes based on observations. Aside from clues provided in her liner notes, Swift tries not to talk about song subjects specifically "because these are real people. You try to give insight as to where you were coming from as a writer without completely throwing somebody under the bus."
Swift during her Speak Now World Tour in Pittsburgh, 2011
For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that's taking something that potentially should be celebrated—a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way—that's taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.
— Swift in response to criticism of her songwriting
The Guardian has praised Swift for writing about teenage years "with a kind of wistful, sepia-toned nostalgia" over the course of her first two albums.New York has remarked that many singer-songwriters have made great records as teens, but "none made great records so explicitly about their teens". The magazine has also compared her work to Brian Wilson. In Fearless, Swift featured fairy tale imagery and explored the disconnect "between fairy tales and the reality of love". Her later albums address more adult relationships. In addition to romance and love, Swift's songs have discussed parent-child relationships, friendships, alienation, fame, and career ambitions. Swift frequently includes "a tossed-off phrase to suggest large and serious things that won't fit in the song, things that enhance or subvert the surface narrative".
Rolling Stone describes Swift as "a songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture". According to The Village Voice, she often uses third-verse point of view reversals. In terms of imagery, repetition is evident in Swift's songwriting. In The Guardian's words, "she spends so much time kissin' in the rain that it seems a miracle she hasn't developed trenchfoot".Slant Magazine adds, "to Swift's credit, she explores new lyrical motifs over the course of [her fourth] album". Although reviews of Swift's work are "almost uniformly positive", The New Yorker has said she is generally portrayed "more as a skilled technician than as a Dylanesque visionary".
Swift has collaborated with many different directors to produce her music videos, and over time she has become more involved with writing and directing. She has her own production house, Taylor Swift Productions, Inc., which is credited with producing music videos for singles such as "Me!", and is known for hiding elaborate clues and easter eggs in most of her work. In 2010, Swift co-directed the music video for "Mine" with Roman White. In 2011, she continued to collaborate with White on the music videos for "Mean" and "Ours". Swift developed the concept and treatment for "Mean". In an interview, White elaborated that Swift "was keenly involved in writing the treatment, casting and wardrobe. And she stayed for both the 15-hour shooting days, even when she wasn't in the scenes." Swift wrote the concept for the "Ours" music video and then brought in White to direct, describing her vision of both videos as being "storylines".
From 2014 to 2018, Swift collaborated with director Joseph Kahn on eight music videos—four each from her albums 1989 and Reputation. Kahn has praised Swift's involvement in the craft. In 2016, Swift worked with American Express for her "Blank Space" music video (which Kahn directed), and released the interactive app AMEX Unstaged: Taylor Swift Experience. Swift received starring and executive producer credit, and in 2015 won a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Interactive Program category for the app. She received producing credit in her music video for "Bad Blood".
In 2018, Swift developed the concept, wrote the treatment for, and starred in the music video for the Sugarland song "Babe". In 2019, she co-directed the music videos for "Me!" with Dave Meyers, "You Need to Calm Down" with Drew Kirsch and "Lover" with Kirsch. She also co-executive produced the second of them with Todrick Hall. The music video for Swift's 2020 single "The Man" marked her official solo directorial debut.
Swift at the 2010 Time 100 Gala in Manhattan, where she was honored.
Swift's personal life has been a subject of constant media attention. In 2013, Abercrombie & Fitch marketed a slogan T-shirt with a "slut-shaming" remark directed toward her.The New York Times asserted in 2013 that her "dating history has begun to stir what feels like the beginning of a backlash". They questioned whether Swift was in the midst of a "quarter-life crisis". Swift has said she is unwilling to discuss her personal life in public; she believes that talking about it can be "a career weakness". In 2015, singer Ray Stevens released his album Here We Go Again which included the single "Taylor Swift is Stalking Me". In 2020, Swift revealed she struggled with an eating disorder in the past.
Rolling Stone remarks upon her polite manner: "If this is Swift's game face, it must be tattooed on because it never drops", and noted her "ease with glad-handing".The Hollywood Reporter called Swift as "the Best People Person since Bill Clinton". While presenting Swift with an award for her humanitarian endeavors in 2012, Michelle Obama described her as a singer who "has rocketed to the top of the music industry but still keeps her feet on the ground, someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22-year-old can accomplish". Swift considers Michelle Obama to be a role model. According to The New York Times and marketing executive Matt B. Britton, Swift's business savvy has helped her "excel as an authentic personality who establishes direct connections with her audience", "touch as many people as possible", and "generate a kind of advocacy and excitement that no level of advertising could".
Swift is one of the most-followed people on social media; as of July 2020, she has more than 136 million followers on Instagram, 86.5 million followers on Twitter and 38.5 million subscribers on YouTube. She is known for her friendly online interactions with her fans. She has delivered holiday gifts to fans by mail and in person, an event dubbed "Swiftmas". She considers it her "responsibility" to be conscious of her influence on young fans and has stated that they are "the longest and best relationship" she has ever had. Often labelled by media as "America's Sweetheart" due to her down-to-earth personality and girl-next-door image, Swift insists she does not "live by all these rigid, weird rules that make me feel all fenced in. I just like the way that I feel like, and that makes me feel very free". She refuses to take part in overly sexualized photoshoots, although Bloomberg L.P. views her as a sex symbol. She has also been recognized as a style icon in fashion;Vogue named her an Icon of American Style in 2011. In 2014, she topped People's annual best-dressed list. In 2015, she was named Woman of the Year at the Elle Style Awards and ranked first on Maxim's Hot 100 list.
Among the honorific nicknames used to describe Swift are "Pop Titan" and "Country Queen". She has been credited with helping country music become more mainstream globally, with Billboard writing that "the country landscape is much different today, thanks in part to Swift and her insistence on following a game plan that many considered unorthodox" and noted the favorable views toward the genre since her debut. According to the BBC, Swift is responsible for paving the way for crossover artists "who no longer wish to be ghettoised into arbitrarily separated musical genres" and potentially "ushering in a new era of one-on-one fan interaction".Rolling Stone opined that, because Swift "worked so hard at speaking her truth" through her songwriting, she "helped opened up a space" for many female artists to "seem so effortlessly themselves" in their music in an era of tabloids.Billboard also reported that following Swift's rise to fame, labels have become more interested in signing young country singers and artists who write their own music. Guitar manufacturing company Fender deemed the "Taylor Swift factor" responsible for the worldwide phenomenon that saw young women driving 50% of new guitar sales. Swift is considered one of the artists who resurged ukuleles in modern music. She was credited as one of the key artists in boosting music industry revenue to $20 billion in 2019, a figure not seen since 2005.
Swift is known for bringing reforms to on-demand music streaming and has been named a "leading advocate for artists' and songwriters' rights". She is credited with helping boost traditional album sales in the streaming era; Quartz acknowledged Swift as the only artist "who stills sells CDs" in 2019. In November 2014, she removed her entire catalog from the streaming service Spotify, arguing that its ad-supported free service undermined the premium service, which provides higher royalties for songwriters. In a June 2015 open letter, Swift criticized Apple Music for not offering royalties to artists during their free three-month trial period and said she would pull 1989 from the catalog. The following day, Apple announced it would pay artists during the free trial period, and Swift agreed to stream 1989 on their streaming service. Hugh McIntyre, writing for Forbes, praised Swift for using her voice to stand up against a major company and that it mattered more than any other person or organization. She re-released her entire catalog to several major streaming platforms in June 2017. In her 2018 record deal with Universal Music Group, Swift secured a guarantee from the label that any sale of its Spotify shares would result in non-recoupable payments to all artists on its roster. Swift is also one of the most vocal supporters of artists' rights to exercise greater control over their music, especially with regards to ownership of master recordings. She has condemned the "unregulated world of private equity" that is "buying up our music like it's real estate", stating vehemently that creators "deserved to own the art [they] make". In addition, she has been labelled as a "feminist icon" for her consistent efforts in championing gender equality and calling out misogyny and internalized sexism.
In honor of Swift's two consecutive concerts at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, GovernorMark Dayton proclaimed August 31, 2018 as "Taylor Swift Day", praising her as "a positive influence on her fans through her example of truthfulness, grace, extensive philanthropy, and strength of character". In 2019, Swift was named Woman of the Decade by Billboard for being "one of the most accomplished musical artists of all time over the course of the 2010s." She was also honored as Artist of the Decade at the 2019 American Music Awards, as well as by several publications.Vulture stated that Swift "bent the music industry to her will" with commercial success, songwriting, steps she took for feminism and female empowerment, and activism within the music industry by standing up for artist rights, by being the "savviest power player" of the 2010s. She was listed as one of the most influential artists of the decade by CNN for "pushing the boundaries of country and pop, and fighting for the rights to her music".Vogue regarded her as one of the world's biggest sustainable fashion influencers. Swift has been credited with boosting the popularity of Polaroids by featuring one of the instant photographs in the cover artwork of her album 1989.
Swift is one of the world's best selling musicians of all time. She has sold more than 50 million pure albums to date, including 37.3 million in the U.S., and 150 million singles globally. Worldwide, she is one of the top five artists in terms of digital sales and has accumulated over 97 million units in album consumption and 54 billion streams across all platforms. Swift's first five studio albums have each sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone. She is the first artist to have four studio albums sell one million copies in their first week in the U.S. and the third best-selling digital singles artist in the U.S. thus far, with a total of 120 million equivalent units certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Having sold more than 75 million tracks in the U.S. in the 2010s, Swift was the country's best-selling singles artist of the decade. She was the highest-paid female musician of the 2010s, placing second on Forbes's list of Top-Earning Musicians of the Decade with earnings of $825 million. In 2020, she became the first female artist in the U.S. to have both an album (Fearless) and a song ("Shake It Off") be certified diamond by the RIAA. Swift is also a highly successful touring artist, having broken numerous venue attendance and grossing records throughout her career. Her Reputation Stadium Tour became the highest-grossing U.S. tour in history, and she was the top female touring artist of the 2010s; in 2020, Forbes named Swift as one of the "few pop artists that reliably pack stadiums".
Swift has also appeared in various power listings. Time included her on its annual list of the 100 most influential people in 2010, 2015, and 2019. From 2011 to 2020, she appeared in the top three on the Forbes Top-Earning Women in Music list with earnings of $45 million, $57 million, $55 million, $64 million, $80 million, $170 million, $44 million and $80 million, topping the list in 2016 and 2019. She also topped the magazine's list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities in 2016 with $170 million—a feat that was entered into the Guinness World Records—and again in 2019 with $185 million; she ranked among the top ten in 2011, 2013 and 2015. In 2015, Swift became the youngest woman to be included on Forbes' list of the 100 most powerful women, ranked at number 64. She was one of the finalists for Time Person of the Year in 2014 and was awarded the honor in 2017 as one of the "Silence Breakers" who spoke up about sexual assault. In June 2019, Forbes estimated Swift's net worth at $360 million. Swift was the most googled female music artist of 2019.
Swift is a feminist and pro-choice. She has consistently spoken out against sexism and misogyny throughout her career, most notably at Billboard'sWomen in Music summits in 2014 and 2019 and in her 2020 single "The Man"; she was one of the founding signatories of the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she promoted the Every Woman Counts campaign, aimed at engaging women in the political process. She was one of many country stars to record a PSA for the Vote (For Your) Country campaign. She is also an outspoken critic of LGBT discrimination and white supremacy, calling the latter "repulsive" and stating that "There should be no place for it." Following the 2008 murder of openly gay teenager Larry King, she recorded a GLSEN PSA aimed at combating hate crimes. On the first anniversary of King's death, she told Seventeen that her parents taught her "never to judge others based on whom they love, what color their skin is, or their religion". The music video for Swift's anti-bullying song "Mean" deals in part with homophobia in high schools; it was nominated for an MTV VMA social activism award in 2011.The New York Times believes she is part of "a new wave of young (and mostly straight) women who are providing the soundtrack for a generation of gay fans coming to terms with their identity in a time of turbulent and confusing cultural messages". After the Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016, Swift penned a letter to honor the victims.
Swift has showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned racism and police brutality in the U.S. while acknowledging her own privilege. In May 2020, she called for justice in the deaths of African-American men Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Responding directly to President Trump's tweet on the Twin Cities riots and Floyd's death, Swift reprimanded Trump for "stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism" and "[having] the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence" in a post that went viral and became one of the most-liked on Twitter at the time. In June 2020, she took to social media to share links to donation funds, informational sites, petitions and other resources related to the national Black Lives Matter movement and protests. Swift also encouraged the public to donate to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and register to vote ahead of US state primary elections, stating that "It is imperative that we make change to our broken system" and that "We need to elect people who will fight against policy brutality and racism of any kind". She shared an essay written by President Barack Obama on policy change in the wake of the George Floyd protests and, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, advocated for mail-in voting for the 2020 US elections. Swift addressed a lengthy social media post to the Capitol Commission and Tennessee Historical Commission, arguing for the removal of Confederate statues in Tennessee—particularly those of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Edward Carmack—and expressing her disgust at "monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures". She called for Juneteenth to become a national holiday.
While promoting her fourth album, Red, Swift offered exclusive album promotions through Target,Papa John's Pizza, and Walgreens. She became a spokesmodel for Diet Coke, and Keds sneakers, released her third Elizabeth Arden fragrance, named Taylor by Taylor Swift, and continued her partnerships with Sony Electronics and American Greetings. Swift released her fourth fragrance, Taylor by Taylor Swift: Made of Starlight, and partnered with the companies AirAsia and Qantas during the Red Tour. The companies acted as the official airlines for the Australian and Asian legs; Cornetto sponsored the Asian leg of the tour. While promoting 1989, Swift had tie-ins with Subway, Keds, Target, Xfinity, and Diet Coke. In 2014, Swift released her fifth fragrance, Incredible Things, in 2014. In 2016, she worked with Apple Music to release a series of three commercials; the songs featured in the advertisements subsequently showed increased popularity and improved chart performance.
Swift signed a multi-year deal with AT&T in 2016. She later headlined DirecTV's Super Saturday Night event on the eve of the 2017 Super Bowl. While promoting Reputation, Swift released a series of behind-the-scenes videos showing the album recording process through DirecTV. In 2018, Swift released two commercials for AT&T. The same year, Swift partnered with UPS as an official delivery partner for Reputation and Fujifilm on a special-edition autographed Instax camera, which includes a selfie-mode and double exposure. The cameras showed massive growth in sales after partnership with Swift. In 2019, Swift signed a multi-year partnership with Capital One.