(M) How Taylor Swift became pop’s first BILLIONAIRE by taking advice from another singer & turning tours into films

ANY Swiftie worth their salt can tell you how many of Taylor Swift’s albums have marked eras in her career with their own styles and aesthetics.

There was the Fearless stage, filled with sparkles and romance, Reputation was Taylor’s villain period, and Lover was all about rainbows and political activism.

Taylor Swift has entered a new era, as she’s made the exclusive Forbes rich list for the first time Credit: Alamy

Her $1.1billion fortune (£875million) dwarfs the £32million that Kansas City Chiefs American footballer boyfriend Travis Kelce is estimated to be worthCredit: Getty

Now the 12-time Grammy winner has entered her BILLIONAIRE era.

Releasing its 2024 list of billionaires, American business magazine Forbes revealed the 34-year-old US singer had joined its exclusive roll call for the first time.

Taylor has amassed a $1.1billion fortune, equal to nearly £875million.

It dwarfs the £32million her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs American footballer Travis Kelce, 34, is estimated to be worth.

Taylor’s wondrous wealth includes about £400million from tours and royalties, plus similar from her back catalogue, £123million from a movie of her latest concert tour, £100million in property, and of course big-money endorsements with some of the world’s biggest brands.

She is the 2,456th richest person on the planet, on the Forbes list, now headed by French fashion and retail tycoon Bernard Arnault, 75.

A huge slice of Taylor’s riches has come from her ongoing Eras world tour, which began in March last year and will close in December.

She sold 4.3million tickets last year, over 60-plus shows.

But another reason for her big bucks has been her brilliant business acumen over the years.

Ever since Taylor released her self-titled debut album at age 16, she has proved a master at engaging with her army of fans — who now number 283million on Instagram and proudly identify as Swifties.

Taylor Swift announces brand-new album The Tortured Poets Department after Grammys win leaving fans feeling ‘blindsided’

One way she does this is through her famous “Easter eggs” — hidden cryptic messages she drops into her music videos, song lyrics and social media posts.

Some reveal who a song is about while others may give clues to her feelings when recording.

Taylor’s wondrous wealth includes around $400million from tours and royalties Credit: Getty

A huge slice comes from her back catalogue, though it comes just years after she chose to re-record her first few albums as she didn’t own the masters to themCredit: AP

But while Taylor’s music catalogue is worth almost £400million, after 11 studio albums, four re-recorded albums and three live albums, there was a time when much of this was not under her control.

After she left Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records, where she recorded her first six albums, her former record label in 2019 sold off a load of her masters, videos and artwork to celebrity manager Scooter Braun without her knowledge.

Braun, who has steered the careers of hitmakers including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, then sold these in 2020 to US-based private equity company Shamrock Holdings for $300million, in a deal that would still see him make money off them.

But in 2019, social media whizz Taylor wrote a lengthy Tumblr post calling out Braun, and quickly got the world on her side.

Fellow US singer Kelly Clarkson then pitched in with wise advice, suggesting that Taylor re-record her albums.

Writing on Twitter, now X, Kelly, 41, said: “Just a thought, U should go in & re-record all the songs that U don’t own the masters on, exactly how U did them but put brand new art & some kind of incentive so fans will no longer buy the old versions.”

Taylor made the groundbreaking decision to do exactly that in 2021, releasing her own versions of her albums, one at a time, so that she now owns them.

It was to prove a very savvy move. Fiercely protective Swifties fought their idol’s corner by refusing to buy her first six albums unless they were Taylor’s own versions, and it was her re-release of fifth album 1989, first put out in 2014, that made Taylor a billionaire.

Neither of these men [Braun and Borchetta] had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans

Taylor Swift

She posted on social media in 2019: “I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate.

“The message being sent to me is very clear — basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished. This is WRONG.

“Neither of these men [Braun and Borchetta] had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans.

“So this is where I’m asking for your help.”

Another fellow singer, Sheryl Crow, recently applauded Taylor’s business bravery, writing in Esquire magazine: “You and you alone are responsible for your art . . . [Taylor] came up with solutions for how to not allow her music to be a money-maker for other people when she should be owning it.”

American chart-topper Sheryl, 62, added: “There’s not a handbook for how to navigate, as a woman, a business that is predominantly run by men.

“Or for when you have a strong woman, how that challenges men and their feelings of importance.”

Meanwhile Taylor has also won plaudits for championing the rights of underpaid artists.

I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music

Taylor Swift

After selling 1.3million copies of 1989, the biggest album of 2014, she stunned the world when she made the decision to remove her whole catalogue of music from Spotify in protest over its low royalty payments.

Writing in a piece for the Wall Street Journal a few months earlier, she said: “Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.”

And she said later: “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music.”

After her boycott prompted Spotify to change its royalty policy, she won Saint Taylor status.

But she did not return to Spotify for three years, when she agreed improved terms.

Indeed, Taylor has grafted for her money, as a prolific songwriter.

While the world almost stood still during the Covid pandemic, she was busy making new music.

Taylor released her eighth album, Folklore, in July 2020 and within a day had more than 80.6million Spotify streams.

She quickly followed this release with with ninth album Evermore, in December of the same year, then Midnights in 2022, and 11th album The Tortured Poets Department is due on April 19.

She has also enticed her fans to buy physical copies of her records, leading a revival for vinyl.

In 2022, Swifties helped push UK vinyl sales past CDs for the first time in 35 years as they clamoured to get their hands on her Midnights LP.

But not everyone is a fan of the trend.

US singer Billie Eilish called out Taylor last month over sustainability concerns.

Billie, 22, said: “We live in this day and age where, for some reason, it’s very important to some artists to make all sorts of different vinyl and packaging . . .  which ups the sales and ups the numbers and gets them more money and gets them more . . . I can’t even express to you how wasteful it is.”

Taylor’s wealth also includes her real estate empire.

These include eight multi-million-dollar pads across four US states.

In 2014, she bought two adjacent penthouses in a New York building for more than £15million.

We live in this day and age where, for some reason, it’s very important to some artists to make all sorts of different vinyl and packaging . . .

Billie Eilish

And then she has also had major endorsement deals, with brands such as Diet Coke, Keds shoes and CoverGirl cosmetics.

And when tickets for her Eras tour went on sale, die-hard fans caused the website Ticketmaster to crash.

For those who could not afford the sky-high prices, Taylor also cleverly turned the tour into a film you could see in cinemas.

Produced by her own team, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour took around $123million in global box office on the opening weekend alone, as millions of fans dressed up as Taylor to attend the sing-a-long shows.

She also reportedly bypassed film distributors, so gaining a 57 per cent cut of the revenue for herself.

And with her Eras tour rolling on until the end of this year, there will be a whole lot more riches cascading down into Taylor’s bank accounts.

Taylor has made $123million from the film version of her Eras Tour, which is streaming on Disney+

She also has around $100million in propertyCredit: Erik Thomas / NY Post


TECH moguls have got even richer in the past year – with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg banking another $200bn between them.

However, the top spot goes to fashion boss Bernard Arnault.

Elon Musk has been able to bump up his fortune this year Credit: Getty

And Amazon fortune Jeff Bezos is right behind him Credit: Getty

Fellow tech mogul Mark Zuckerberg is fourth with a fortune of $177bn Credit: Getty

Musk is in second place with an estimated net worth of $195bn, up from $180bn last year.

The 52-year-old has grown his wealth from his firms including electric car maker Tesla and rocket producer SpaceX.

He also bought Twitter, now X, in 2022.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is right behind him, taking the third spot with a $194bn fortune.

Bezos, 60, has added $80bn to his net worth in 12 months.

He founded the online giant in 1994 from his garage.

He stepped down as CEO to become executive chairman in 2021, but still owns nearly ten per cent, with his shares valued at about $143bn last December.

Mark Zuckerberg is fourth with $177bn. The 39-year-old almost trebled his bank balance from £64.4bn last year.

Much of his wealth comes from Facebook, which he created at Harvard 20 years ago.

Parent company Facebook, Inc. was rebranded as Meta Platforms, Inc. 2021, to “reflect its focus on building the metaverse”

Christian Louboutin – $1.2bn

French fashion designer Christian Louboutin has made the rich list Credit: Getty

His brand was made famous by iconic red-soled stilettos Credit: Alamy

The 61-year-old French fashion designer has reached the billionaire list thanks to his fashion brand, made famous by his iconic red-soled stilettos, beloved by celebrities including Victoria Beckham, who while pregnant with Harper wore a custom made pair to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011.

Magic Johnson – $1.2bn

Former basketball star Magic Johnson has mostly made his wealth through savvy business dealings Credit: Getty

The 64-year-old former basketball star has actually amassed his wealth in business, namely forging savvy partnerships with other billionaires.

He part owns the American football team, NFL’s Washington Commanders with American investor Justin Harris and has a stake in the life insurance provider EquiTrust.

Dick Wolf – $1.2bn

TV producer Nick Wolf has been behind the most watched crime shows on TVCredit: Getty

The 77-year-old TV producer has a successful career spanning three decades and behind the most watched crime shows on TV, including Law & Order with him selling the streaming rights to the show to NBC’s Peacock in 2020 for a deal worth estimated $300 million.

The American’s Wolf Entertainment is one of the most profitable and prolific production companies in Hollywood history.

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