At some time in the past year, I bet you have found yourself humming, singing or dancing along to one Taylor Swift song or another. It was hard to miss her catchy lyrics, sick beats, great style and film quality music videos, as well as the epic tour that took her around the world in a little over six months. In fact, it seems that with one album, Taylor changed the music industry — if not the world.
1. She made us buy CDs again
In the world of iTunes and iPods, it’s easy to download music, but somehow 1989 brought us to Internet retailers and physical stores to purchase over one million CDs in the release week. Adele has since crushed that total, but it set the scene for CDs to make a comeback.
2. She took on Apple
As mentioned above, Apple pretty much controls the music scene currently. So, when Apple Music debuted offering a free three-month trial that would not pay artists, Taylor stood up. She said no — to Apple. She didn’t just do it for her, but for all the artists out there who rely on any and all sources of income. And Taylor won. Apple agreed to pay all artists from the beginning.
3. She pushed genre labels aside
Call 1989 pop and Taylor’s other albums country if you want, but does it really matter? Her music bridges genres and makes us all forget about them. The labels separate songs by arbitrary and unfair boundaries; Taylor proved that good music is good music.
4. She shared her stage
A lot can be said about the 1989 World Tour, but the main thing that set it apart from other tours was the surprise guests. I attended one of the first shows in Detroit, so when Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons came out, we were all genuinely shocked. As the tour wore on, a surprise guest came to be expected, with artists from Justin Timberlake to Mary J. Blige to Steven Tyler joining her. No artist had ever done that before. It showed not only Taylor’s ability to collaborate and adapt, but also that she wanted her fans to have the best night ever.
5. She created an album full of singles
We don’t buy many CDs anymore because we only know and/or like a few of the songs. 1989 seamlessly moves from memorable song to memorable song. She has already released six of the songs as singles with a video and I hope there are more to come.
6. She turned music videos into short films
Each of the singles released from 1989 has an accompanying video that took the song to another level and transported the viewer to another world, be it a fancy mansion, sci-fi world or the natural beauty of New Zealand. Taylor became not just a singer, but also an actress, showing sides of herself that we hadn’t seen before.
7. She brought generations together
While Taylor’s main fan base definitely skews young, I don’t know anyone young or old who doesn’t like her and her music. People from all backgrounds find something to relate to, which is perhaps because her message of growing, learning, loving and losing is so universal.
8. She uses her power for good
In 2014, Taylor held album release parties at her homes for fans and sent Christmas gifts to her fans. This year, Taylor donated money to people in need, be they fans or relatives of her dancers. She held a meet-and-greet party, Loft 89, at each of her shows. She has a positive attitude and never presents herself in a light that would make her a bad role model. Because somewhere in us, maybe we all aspire to be Taylor Swift and leave the world better than when we arrived.