Taylor Swift: Overrated / Genius?
“Oh God, not ‘Shake it off’ again! Turn it off. She’s overrated and not even talented”, my friend vented while changing the radio station. Taylor Swift is one of the world’s most prominent performers; winning seven Grammies, 7.1m Instagram followers and an enviable #girlsquad comprised of famous models and singers such as Selena Gomez, Karlie Kloss, and Lily Aldridge. Her estimating annual earnings in 2015 have been predicted to be over $100 million with the release of her new album 1989. Taylor Swift proves that as a singer, you need more than raw talent; you also need luck and great marketing. This article demonstrates why Tay Tay deserves her title as the queen of pop.
LESSON 1: Know your audience and target them: (Good) Girl power
Many people claim that Taylor Swift isn’t the ‘American Sweetheart’ she’s made out to be. However, her long list of former beaus including Harry Styles and John Mayer, and an extensive playlist of love songs has barely tainted T-Swift’s her good girl image. There is profanity to be found in any of her songs and despite a few borderline sexy scenes in here music videos, she has overall maintained a very positive and healthy public image. Taylor Swift has never been caught by the paparazzi doing drugs or leaving a club completely wasted, unlike other infamous celebrities before her. Here’s looking at you; Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss, and Justin Bieber.
Taylor makes music directly for her targeted audience; teenage girls and young women. Her ability to create such a targeted product (her music) is they key to her success. While Indie singers may have unique and beautiful voices, they may not see the success of Taylor Swift and the like because they fail to appeal directly to a specific, but large, audience. Taylor Swift ditched her country singer image and switched to pop, which widened her target audience to girls and young women from age 12 – 35. Even her love songs can be applied to every stage of a relationship – making them more widely relatable. She positions herself as a cool and supportive older sister who accepts and addresses societal issues such as bullying or having insecurities in her songs, thus, enabling her listeners to know that they are alone. Furthermore, she leverages brand loyalty with her ‘Secret Sessions’ reward programs and album-listening parties for her biggest fans and social media influencers.
LESSON 2: Remain relevant in societal issues: #girlsquad
With the reawakening of feminism; girls and women around the world are looking for aspirational female role models. In the recent times, there has been a cultural shift and women are increasingly enlightened about perceiving other women as an inspiration rather than direct competition. A quote from a New York Times article aptly sums this up as “Girls compete with each other; women empower one another”. The same writer further elaborates that it is deemed exceptional or at least notable that famous women such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé recognise the talent of other women and work with them without being ‘cattish,’ making them a feminist hero. By being seen as a feminist symbol during a time of burgeoning awareness for equality and empowerment, Taylor Swift has successfully boosted her brand and positioned herself as a role model for girls and women around the world.
LESSON 3: Do well by doing good (CSR)
It is known that companies who practice corporate social responsibility also benefit regarding profitability, and the same can be applied to famous personalities. Taylor Swift has been named the most charitable celebrity for four consecutive years. She often sends fans presents, personalised cards and has visited fans in the hospital who were too sick to attend her concerts. This only adds to her image of a positive role model, which is especially compelling when compared to Justin Bieber, who cancelled $2000 meet-and-greets last minute without refund because of personal issues.
Despite all the positive deeds she has done, there are still critics who question the sincerity of her good will, particularly in light of a recent lawsuit against her guitar teacher who used her name for promotional purposes. Taylor Swift has answers to all this, and they can be found in her lyrics: “You cannot make everyone happy. You are not a Nutella jar” and there will always be “haters going to hate, hate, hate” so you just have to “shake it off’ and do your thang.