The Decade for Taylor Swift
Thu, October 21, 2021

The Decade for Taylor Swift

For all its ups and downs, it appears that the preceding decade has been Taylor Swift’s / Photo by: Ronald Woan via Flickr

 

For all its ups and downs, it appears that the preceding decade has been Taylor Swift’s. 

Everyone probably knows her name and at least half of her discography as well as the juicy Kanye West beef that has remained a shadow in both artists’ careers. We have gotten to know the Swift Squad, not to mention Swift’s propensity to make ripples in the music industry whenever something wrong can be made right. 

She was the voice of a generation and she spoke to multiple crowds across the world with nothing but her hands shaped like hearts and her trustworthy guitar. This is how Swift conquered the 2010s. 

 

The Fight for What’s Right

Anyone who’s been following Swift’s illustrious career knows that she champions pretty radical things as she knows that the alternative is always better. 

Save for the controversial issue with Big Machine owning most of the music that she built her whole career on, Swift has ascended to become a sort of “elder stateswoman,” standing up for so many issues that plague artists in the industry so much that she’s become almost synonymous with it, reported Vulture, a website that daily covers TV, movies, music, books, theater, and the entertainment industry. 

Once, she was groped by a radio DJ, and she sued him for a dollar to show that it’s not about the money. Apple reversing a whole policy so that they will now pay artists’ royalties during the three-month trial period? Swift also had a hand in that. 

She’s also no stranger to reinvention, especially when she wants to show everyone that preconceived notions in the music industry should be abolished. For instance, she wrote her entire “Speak Now” album all by herself after critics posited that maybe, she’s using the assistance of too many collaborators.

All in all, love her or hate her, Swift has become a powerhouse artist who has spent her roaring 20s in the last decade dealing with all manners of controversies and still coming out on top. 

Anyone who’s been following Swift’s illustrious career knows that she champions pretty radical things as she knows that the alternative is always better / Photo by: Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

 

A Very Swift Decade

As American news and opinion website The Daily Beast writes, Swift’s impact on the music industry is wide and seismic. To compare, The Daily Beast begins with defining Adele, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Ariana Grande with Swift. Diehard fans will probably disagree when you become critical about comparing these artists’ impact on the music industry but stripping away subjective grounds, we see that Swift’s work has been the only one consistent in the public consciousness and readily available on the radio.

Adele, though her last album “25” was released to instant critical acclaim, hasn’t come back in six years; Beyoncé enjoys the music industry royalty status but has also not released any new music to compete on the radio (because Lord knows she doesn’t really have to now); Perry has been plagued with flops; Rihanna has taken to trolling her fans; Lady Gaga has focused on her acting career as of late but still serves; and only Grande is really the top contender for the level of impact that Swift has, but her head-to-head power didn’t really come out until the tail end of the 2010s. 

Grande is the only other artist on the list to have a spot on the Billboard Hot 100, but Swift's record on the Hot 100 and in the music industry, in general, is also very impressive. According to Good Morning America, she has 95 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and 10 Grammys including two Album of the Year awards (becoming the first female artist to do so). Swift also has 23 Billboard Music Awards, 29 American Music Awards (more than any other artist), and 12 Country Music Awards. Her albums have so far sold 37.3 million units, and she's sure to sell some more now that a new decade has begun and she has not indicated that she will be slowing down any time soon. 

Variety, an American media company, reported that Swift's performance this decade also didn't go unnoticed by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). They certified Swift's "1989" album to have sold nine million units in 2017. "Red" had a total of seven million units sold in July 2018 despite the album being released back in 2012. "Speak Now," which Swift released in 2010, had six million units sold as of December 2017.

The decade was also unkind to Swift, with her “ME!” album not faring well as her other efforts, probably because it felt a little too cotton candy-pop even for Swift. Toward the end of the 2010s, Swift also had to stand up for her choice to speak up about issues that matter like the fight for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Swift’s best friend, Todrick Hall, told Daily Mail UK, a British daily middle-market newspaper published in London in a tabloid format, that he had been educating and encouraging Taylor to use her voice for good causes. Speaking up this late might not sit well with the court of Twitter, but Hall expressed his pleasure on being “able to help her realize that using her voice is a humongous instrument that is able to change the minds of those who, without her, may have never looked at gay people as actual people.” 

This is where conversations of being a privileged white woman in the industry still needs to be addressed, but it seems with Hall by her side, Swift will also slowly be able to dive deep into that privilege, into the predisposed chance she gets at speaking up despite other artists who are probably also saying the same thing.