Taylor Swift’s Eras tour kicked off in March and is set to conclude in December 2024. To date, it’s sold over 4 million tickets and become the highest-grossing music tour ever. (Credit: Paolo Villanueva, Flickr)

It’s impossible to live in the United States – or maybe anywhere, for that matter – in the year 2023 and not hear the name Taylor Swift on a regular basis. She’s been a musical icon for over 15 years now, but it was only this past year that she skyrocketed to supernova level of fame. (If you don’t believe me, name one other celebrity who has been photographed eating chicken fingers with ketchup and “seemingly” ranch dressing, and then seen the Empire State Building light up white and red in honor of her condiment choices. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

The “Cruel Summer” singer’s influence has transcended the music world and bled into politics, business, economics, film, sports and even the environment – yes, her July concert in Seattle literally caused a small earthquake.

Join us in looking back at some highlights from 2023 (Taylor’s Version) – which all serve as further proof that it’s Swift’s world, and we’re just living in it.

1. That Time She Embarked on a Record-Breaking Tour

The Eras tour broke its first record on opening night in March in Glendale, Arizona. With 69,000 attendees, it was the most-attended concert by a woman artist ever in the U.S., breaking the record previously held by Madonna. Now, nearly nine months in, Eras became the first tour to ever surpass $1 billion in revenue – making it the highest-grossing tour of any musical artist in history. Eras, whose 44-song setlist includes music from all 10 of Swift’s albums, broke the Guinness World Record set by Elton John on his five-year farewell tour, which grossed $939 million. Because of such a high demand, Swift has extended the tour more than 10 times so far, with the tour schedule now consisting of 151 shows. It is set to end in December 2024.

2. That Time She Gave a Life-Changing Gift

After wrapping up the U.S. leg of her tour, Swift wanted to do something special to say thank you to her crew. It was reported that each of the nearly 50 truck drivers received a bonus check of $100,000 with a handwritten note from the singer, personally delivered by her father, Scott Swift. The founder of the trucking company, Michael Scherkenbach, described the gift as “life-changing,” telling CNN that the money would open possibilities for drivers to put a down payment on a house or pay a child’s tuition. Many of the drivers, reportedly flabbergasted when they first received their envelopes, have expressed gratitude for the six-figure surprise. Apparently, other crew members, including those in catering, video, audio and lighting, received bonuses as well.

3. That Time She Became an Honorary Mayor (Plus Many Other Tributes)

To say that Swift has been welcomed by her tour spots with open arms would be an understatement. Cities like Glendale, Arizona, and Santa Clara, California, were temporarily renamed “Swift City” and “Swiftie Clara,” respectively. Swift was even named an honorary mayor of the latter. It’s as if cities are trying to out-do one another with grand gestures, from lighting up landmarks to dedicating a bench to the singer in her favorite park. While Houston got creative and renamed a venue “NRG Stadium (Taylor’s Version),” the New Jersey governor couldn’t let a good pun go to waste, renaming the iconic Taylor ham sandwich the Taylor Swift ham sandwich. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro even joined in on the fun, projecting a “Junior Jewels” inspired t-shirt onto the Christ the Redeemer statue. Talk about hospitality.

4. That Time She Helped Spike Voter Registrations

On National Voter Registration Day in September, Swift posted a short message that had a big impact. “I’ve been so lucky to see so many of you guys at my U.S. shows recently. I’ve heard you raise your voices, and I know how powerful they are,” she wrote in an Instagram story. “Make sure you’re ready to use them in our elections this year!” She encouraged her 272 million followers to vote in midterm elections by directing them to Vote.org. Shortly afterward, the nonprofit reported a surge in registrations – 35,000 to be exact. The CEO, Andrea Hailey, credits Swift for the “highly encouraging sign of voter enthusiasm,” as the website saw a 1,226 percent uptick in participation in the hour following Swift’s post. “Our site was averaging 13,000 users every 30 minutes – a number that Taylor Swift would be proud of,” Hailey said in a statement, referencing Swift’s lucky number, 13.

5. That Time She Boosted the Economy

No big deal. Back in July, the Federal Reserve published a report crediting Swift’s Eras tour for an uptick in consumer spending across the country. Countless fans embarked on “Swiftcations” to cities where concerts were held, shelling out thousands of dollars each on hotels, food and more. With consumer spending projected to reach $5 billion in the U.S. alone, Swift’s economic impact has exceeded the GDP of at least 50 entire countries. This has caused political leaders from all around the world, from Canada to Thailand, to publicly ask Swift to pay them a visit, in hopes that they too can bask in what The Wall Street Journal called “Taylornomics.”

6. That Time Her Concert Film Made History

In October, the film version of Swift’s Eras tour saw the biggest ever opening weekend for a concert film, generating $92.8 million in ticket sales in just that weekend. She made the business-savvy decision to sidestep working with studios altogether, opting for an exclusive deal with AMC theaters that would allow herself and AMC to collect 57 percent of ticket revenue. The partnership proved to be fruitful for both parties, ​​as the film made history as the first concert film in the United States to pass the $100 million mark. The film’s popularity was especially helpful in saving AMC from suffering financially after a number of movie screenings were postponed due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

7. That Time She Boosted NFL Ratings

You knew this was coming. Ever since Swift was first spotted at a Chiefs game to support her new boyfriend, tight end Travis Kelce, it seems everyone’s taken a sudden interest in football. Coincidence? Unlikely. Her attendance at the Chiefs-Jets game on Oct. 1 helped broadcaster NBC reach an additional 2 million female viewers, making the game the second most popular show of any broadcaster since the last Super Bowl. Both the NFL and its broadcasters have been capitalizing on their newfound Swiftie clout with social media posts and frequent Swift references. And despite what the “dads, Brads and Chads” – as Swift called them in a Time interview – have to say about Swift’s presence at games, it’s hard to deny that she’s been a good luck charm for the Chiefs this year.

8. That Time She Was Everyone’s Top-Streamed Artist

While music lovers like to debate about which streaming platform, Spotify or Apple Music, is better, for Swift, it doesn’t matter – she’s doing extremely well on both. In November, it was announced that she was the top artist on both, being recognized as the most-streamed artist on Spotify as well as Apple Music’s Artist of the Year. These titles, both held by Bad Bunny in 2022, are the highest honors any artist can achieve on both platforms. Additionally, Swift is the number one most-streamed female artist in Apple Music and Spotify history. “Taylor Swift’s impact on music is absolutely undeniable – not just this record-breaking year, but throughout her entire career,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.

9. That Time She Re-Recorded Two Albums

Just for some background – Swift has been re-recording nearly all of her old masters since 2021 and dubbing them “Taylor’s Version” in order to earn back the rights to her own music, after her old label sold those rights to her sworn enemy, music manager Scooter Braun. To date, she’s re-recorded six albums – and two of them, “Speak Now” and “1989,” she recorded this year, despite being knee-deep in her most hectic tour yet. She released “Speak Now” in July and “1989” in October, with both albums featuring unreleased tracks “from the vault.” With billions of streams, it’s clear that both albums are even more popular now than when they were first released. Now, we wait for “Reputation (Taylor’s Version).”

10. That Time She Was Named Person of the Year

As if it wasn’t obvious. While Time Magazine has chosen a “Person of the Year” every year since 1927, Swift is the first honoree to be recognized for success in the arts. She’s also the fourth solo Person of the Year born in the past half century, with editor-in-chief Sam Jacobs calling her a “symbol of generational change.” According to Time, the Person of the Year award “springs from the Great Man Theory of history, a belief that individuals have the power to transform society.” I’m not saying that Swift can predict the future, but let me remind you of a lyric she wrote years ago: “If I was a man, then I’d be the man.”