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The Taylor Effect Goes Global

When Taylor Swift tells a story, you listen. This one is about a time when she got her heart broken.

She was 17. She had booked the biggest opportunity of her life so far, opening for country star Kenny Chesney on tour. But a couple of weeks later, Taylor’s mom gave her bad news. Plans for the tour had shifted. Taylor was too young to join. “I was devastated,” she says.

For her 18th birthday, Chesney wrote her a card. It read: “I’m sorry that you couldn’t come on the tour, so I wanted to make it up to you.” With the note was a check. “It was for more money than I’d ever seen in my life,” Swift says. “I was able to fuel my dreams.”

A lot has changed since then. At 34, Swift is a pop superstar. She’s also a businesswoman. And on December 7, she was named the 2023 TIME Person of the Year. “This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt,” she says.

Swift’s epic Eras Tour played 66 dates across the Americas in 2023. It’s the first concert tour to make more than a billion dollars. Politicians implored Swift to play their countries. Streets and even cities were renamed for her.

When Swift arrives in a city, a mini economic boom takes place. Hotels get more visitors. So do restaurants. The Eras Tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona. Businesses in the city made more money than they did during the 2023 Super Bowl, which was also held there.

Her impact was noted at the highest levels of government. “When the Federal Reserve mentions you as the reason economic growth is up, that’s a big deal,” Ed Tiryakian says. He teaches finance at Duke University, in North Carolina.

This can be a lot of pressure for one person. After she plays a run of shows, Swift takes a day to rest. “I can barely speak because I’ve been singing for three shows straight,” she says.


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