Taylor Swift fans change modern culture as a collective force

Taylor Swift fans change modern culture as a collective force

Taylor Swift has been one of the most popular stars in the music industry for over a decade, but her popularity is currently at its peak, with her Eras Tour selling 2.5 million tickets on its first presale day and grossing over a billion dollars. With her popularity came a devoted fan base, dubbed “Swifties” by the media and by Swift herself. According to a 2023 survey, 53% of American adults claimed that they were fans of Taylor Swift, with 44% claiming to be Swifties.

Recently, Taylor Swift began dating NFL tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs. Almost immediately after the relationship entered the public eye, Chiefs games became much more popular, even with the team being incredibly successful. Multiple games in the Chiefs’ current playoff run have reached over 50 million viewers, with a large number of fans pushed by Taylor Swift’s presence in the stands. The NFL themselves estimate that Swift’s appearances have generated $330 million in ticket sales and viewership.

One of the most memorable moments of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour was the theatrical premiere of the concert film of her Dallas, Texas performance. Thousands of fans rushed to the closest showing, with many enjoying the film as they would an actual Swift concert. Footage from theater security cameras shows patrons singing and dancing along with the music, but this was a source of controversy within the fan base. Many felt this behavior was unacceptable for a theater environment and was ruining the experience for others. AMC Theatres themselves had to remind fans that filming the movie and blocking the view of others was not allowed. Other people from outside of the Swiftie community found the footage eerie, with many comparing the fans following the choreography to a bizarre ritual.

The devoted fan base of Taylor Swift has even affected worldwide economies and U.S. politics. By the end of the tour, Swift will have performed 151 shows in five continents, bringing an average of $130 million to the gross domestic product of each city she visits on the tour. Brooke Schultz of the Associated Press has called Swifties an influential voter demographic in the United States, and a survey has shown that ⅕ of Swifties say that they would support whatever political candidate Swift endorses. In May 2023, Texas approved a law titled “Save Our Swifties” which banned the use of bots to bulk-purchase and resell tickets to concerts. Similar bills were submitted to the U.S. Congress and governments in Chile and the Philippines.

While some may compare Swift’s fan base to a cult, it is hard to deny the positive acts Swift and her fans have done for people. In 2023, a fan was struck and killed by a drunk driver while heading home after one of her shows in Houston. In response, thousands of Swifties collectively donated $125,000 to his family. Swift has donated to fans to cover their academic loans, medical bills, and other expenses. In 2018, she bought a house for a fan who was homeless and pregnant at the time, and she donated $10,000 to a young fan with leukemia.

It may be easy to write off Swifties as obsessive fans, but the community is mostly harmless and easily comparable to Beatlemania in the 1960s or Elvis Presley’s frantic fanbase in the 1950s. Even if one doesn’t enjoy Swift’s music, it is impossible to deny her influence on the culture of the 21st century.

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    Victoria Billingsley | Feb 7, 2024 at 9:25 am

    This was an amazing article, very well written. I like how you kind of used differing opinions.

    Reply