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9 Ways Taylor Swift Has Changed the Music Business

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Taylor Swift’s seismic impact on the music industry over the past 17 years since her debut isn’t limited to her unparalleled commercial success, but also encompasses her influence on everything from artists’ rights to smashing the traditional album release model to changing the conversation about song rights and ownership. She’s an advocate, a style icon, a marketing wiz, a prolific songwriter, a pusher of visual boundaries and a record-breaking road warrior. And she sells a ton of albums — including, as we’ve seen over the past couple of years, remakes of her old ones.

It’s rare to ascend to the pinnacle of pop stardom, as Swift has, and rarer still to impact the business so profoundly. Since the debut of her first album at age 16, Swift has shown a preternatural gift for engaging with her fans, inspiring the kind of devotion that leaves them to await each new song, album and merch release with bated breath — not to mention the kind of fervor that can crash Ticketmaster (and result in a Senate Judiciary hearing).

During Swift’s reign, she has used her untold influence to change seemingly every aspect of the music industry — from helping inspire a vinyl revolution, to motivating record labels to alter the way contracts are written, to changing the way concert tickets are bought and sold. And when it comes to the music itself, she’s navigated shifts in her sound with savvy and (for the most part) grace, retaining the base of devoted young fans who have grown up alongside her while expanding to new audiences through her embrace of everything from pop to trap to folk to hip-hop.

Below, here are nine ways Taylor Swift has changed the music business.

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