Entertainment and Arts

Are The Female Fanbase Key to Taylor Swift’s Success?

By: Laura Bennett

Love it or hate it, Taylor Swift has generated an incredible amount of cultural status in recent years.

Whether it’s her constant hit singles, multiple record-breaking Grammy wins or relationship with that NFL guy, she dominates headlines and, with her Eras Tour, is shifting economies with the billions of dollars her shows generate.

Melbourne’s RMIT University recently hosted a free “fanposium” to discuss what’s made Taylor Swift so successful, and why her fans (Swifties) have such buy-in.

Associate Professor Catherine Strong is a music industries researcher focusing on gender-based experiences in music and fandom culture.

“[Taylor’s] definitely a good businesswoman,” Catherine said in our interview.

“She’s very carefully thinking though everything that she does, and the way she gets her fans attention and keeps her fans attention.

“But you don’t get to where she is just by being smart, she does write good songs and catchy tunes and that’s really important. The fact that she has music that a lot of people really love gets forgotten in the conversation about her sometimes because there’s so many other things going on.”

After the media frenzy her Superbowl attendance for boyfriend Travis Kelce caused and constant consideration for hidden meanings in her fashion choices, hairstyles and album titles, you have to wonder, is there anything Taylor can do for pure enjoyment, or is it all business?

“The thing she has that we can’t dismiss easily, is money,” Catherine said.

“She can afford to buy some of that privacy and some of that away time, and basically have anything she needs or wants brought to her.”

That might be luxurious, but “it’s going to be really interesting to see how she navigates still being this relatable “girl next door” type [while] also being this stratospheric billionaire out of the reach of anybody else”.

Giving Fans a Voice

So far, Taylor’s status hasn’t bothered fans who’ve been with her since her early country years, and it might be because – for female fans especially – they believe she’s given them a voice.

“[Taylor’s] managed to move the dial in terms of how seriously young women audiences are being taken,” Catherine said.

“It’s always been the case that young women and girls have huge buying power and are a demographic to be reckoned with, but they’ve never been taken so seriously culturally. People like Taylor [give pop] and those sorts of genres a lot more space to be appreciated for what they are.”

With so much power at her disposal, you could be concerned fans feel such an allegiance to her, but Catherine says while “Swifties” are passionate, they’re still a discerning audience.

“These fans are a genuine community, and they speak to each other a lot,” Catherine said.

“They speak to each other about what their idols say, and they don’t talk about it uncritically. If [a star] says something that goes against the general values of what that fandom sees itself as having they won’t blindly go along with that.”

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Photo by Rosa Rafael on Unsplash 

About the Author: Laura Bennett is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.

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