There are few pop cultural figures quite so polarizing as Taylor Swift. But in an industry that is increasingly fractured, the singer-songwriter regularly breaks records to the tune of millions in every arena she finds herself in.
Even though the critical response to her latest album, Reputation, was somewhat muted compared to her previous efforts, Swift still managed to sell a whopping 1.05 million copies in the U.S. during the first four days after its release. Since Nielsen started electronically tracking music sales in 1991, Swift is the only person to have four albums sell in the millions during their first week after release — Speak Now with 1.05 million in 2010, Red with 1.21 million in 2012, 1989 with 1.29 million in 2014 and the aforementioned Reputation.
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Not only that, but Swift’s 2015 1989 tour — 83 shows in 53 cities around the world — brought in $250 million in ticket sales and broke a record for North American ticket sales that was set by the Rolling Stones in 2005 with a figure of $162 million.
On social media, Swift has 85.8 million followers on Twitter, 73 million people like her page on Facebook and she has 104 million Instagram followers.
Whatever your opinion about Swift, numbers don’t lie. Behind the crafted pop songs and highly constructed persona, there clearly lies a savvy business acumen. So in honor of the pop star’s 28th birthday on Dec. 13, read on for some lessons from Swift’s ascent to the top that any entrepreneur can be inspired by.