Nov 1, 2023 - Economy

Taylor Swift is having one of the biggest years in pop history

Taylor Swift smiles sassily while looking over her left shoulder and holding a bejeweled microphone with her right hand

"The Eras Tour" has grossed more than $780 million since March. Photo: Michael/AFP via Getty Images

Taylor Swift has accomplished more this calendar year than most artists hope to achieve during an entire career.

Driving the news: Swift currently has the No. 1 song in the country with "Cruel Summer" and is on the verge of scoring her second No. 1 album of 2023 with "1989 (Taylor's Version)."

Why it matters: Swift is having one of the biggest years in pop music history, on par with icons like The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Prince.

By the numbers: Swift embarked on "The Eras Tour" in March, which has grossed more than $780 million, making it the second-highest-grossing tour of all time behind Elton John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road."

  • The corresponding concert film hit theaters in October and quickly became the highest-grossing concert film of all time.

Meanwhile, Swift's song, "Anti-Hero," from 2022's "Midnights" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January.

  • She followed that up with the release "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" in July. It was the 12th No. 1 album of her career, the most by any woman in Billboard chart history.

What they're saying: "I have always been impressed with Taylor's desire and ability to do things her way, all the way, all the time," Alice Enders, a music industry analyst for Enders Analysis, tells Axios.

  • "She is in total control, and only the biggest artist can seek and maintain this kind of control in relation to the labels, venue operators, and cinema chains."

The big picture: Swift's year ranks with the likes of the Beatles, which released three No. 1 albums in 1966, and Michael Jackson, who ruled over 1983 with "Thriller."

  • Her crossover success is reminiscent of Prince's legendary 1984 run with "Purple Rain" and Eminem's 2002 that included his album "The Eminem Show" and the film "8 Mile."
  • There's also the year Beyoncé is having, including the "Renaissance World Tour," which grossed $579 million — the second-highest total for a woman after Swift — and a concert film set to be released Dec. 1.

Yes, but: "It's a different world from the Beatles and Michael Jackson," says Enders.

  • "Back then, artists made money from their albums and rarely toured, and prices were much lower. Today, touring is much more lucrative than it ever was before, and fans have a very strong appetite for the 'experience' of the live performance."

The bottom line: Swift has amassed one of the most impressive years in music history, and there are still two months left to go.

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