In a historic achievement, Taylor Swift secured the title of TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2023. This marks the first instance of an entertainer gracing the cover, and notably, Taylor Swift is also the first woman to achieve this honor twice since its inception in 1927. This exceptional accomplishment cements her status as a cultural icon and a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.
Additionally, her leadership in Forbes’ Most Powerful Women’s List highlights the profound impact she has made beyond the realm of music. As Taylor Swift continues to wield her influence, her trajectory promises even more significant accomplishments in the years ahead.
Reacting to the win, Swift expressed her pride, happiness, and creative fulfillment. She took to Instagram to extend a vibrant thank you to TIME, emphasizing her gratitude for the honor. The pop sensation’s journey to this accolade includes a remarkable ascent from the 79th to the 5th position on Forbes’ Most Powerful Women’s List, showcasing her transformative influence beyond music.
Swift’s Eras Tour, which concluded in Sao Paulo, Brazil, generated a staggering $850 million, contributing significantly to a $5 billion boost in the US economy. Beyond the financial impact, Swift’s inventive business approaches have reshaped industry standards, highlighting the economic influence of women in entertainment. Her profound impact extends into cultural and social realms, solidifying her as a formidable force on a global scale.
Overview of TIME’s Person of the Year
TIME’s Person of the Year is an annual issue of the American news magazine and website TIME featuring a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year”. The editors select the featured subject, though the TIME website also runs an annual reader’s poll that has no effect on the selection.
The tradition of selecting a “Man of the Year” began in 1927, with TIME editors contemplating the news makers of the year. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic transatlantic flight. A cover story recognizing Lindbergh as Man of the Year was chosen by year’s end.
Since then, TIME has chosen a wide range of subjects for its Person of the Year issue, from world leaders and activists to scientists and artists. Some of the most notable recipients include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Greta Thunberg. The title was changed to “Person of the Year” in 1999 to reflect the diversity and inclusivity of the candidates.
Potential Candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year 2023
The year 2023 was marked by many significant events and personalities that shaped the world in various ways. Some of the potential candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year 2023 were:
- Hollywood strikers: The actors, writers, directors, and crew members who went on strike for better working conditions, pay, and representation in the film and television industry, causing a major disruption in the entertainment business and sparking a global conversation about labor rights and creative freedom.
- Xi Jinping: The president of China and the leader of the Communist Party, who consolidated his power and influence in the country and abroad, amid rising tensions with the United States, Taiwan, and other nations over trade, human rights, and territorial disputes.
- Taylor Swift: The singer-songwriter and record producer, who dominated the music charts and awards shows with her re-recorded albums and new releases, breaking records and setting new standards for artistic ownership and control. She also used her platform and influence to advocate for various social causes, such as voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights.
- Sam Altman: The entrepreneur and investor, who launched the OpenAI Codex, a groundbreaking artificial intelligence system that can generate computer code from natural language, opening up new possibilities and challenges for software development and innovation.
- Trump Prosecutors: The team of federal and state prosecutors who investigated and charged former President Donald Trump and his associates with various crimes, such as tax fraud, obstruction of justice, and incitement of insurrection, exposing the corruption and abuse of power that plagued his administration and his post-presidency.
- Barbie: The iconic doll and brand, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2023, with a series of new products, campaigns, and collaborations that reflected the diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment of girls and women around the world.
- Vladimir Putin: The president of Russia and the former KGB agent, who faced growing opposition and protests from his critics and rivals, such as Alexei Navalny and Volodymyr Zelensky, while also expanding his influence and aggression in the region and beyond, such as in Ukraine, Belarus, and Syria.
- King Charles III: The king of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms, who ascended to the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in February 2023, ending her 70-year reign and ushering in a new era of monarchy and constitutional change.
- Jerome Powell: The chair of the Federal Reserve, who steered the U.S. economy through the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the inflation crisis, while also facing political pressure and scrutiny from the Biden administration and Congress over his policies and decisions.
Taylor Swift: The 2023 Person of the Year
Among the many contenders for the title, Taylor Swift emerged as the clear winner, according to TIME’s editors and readers. Swift’s achievements and impact in 2023 were remarkable and unparalleled, as she demonstrated her artistic excellence, business acumen, and social responsibility. Some of the highlights of her year include:
- Released her 11th studio album, Evermore: The Re-Recordings, featuring new versions of songs from her 2020 album Evermore, six bonus tracks, and collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Halsey, and Lorde. Swift became the first artist to have nine number-one Billboard 200 debuts and garnered many Grammy nominations and awards with the album, which was universally praised by reviewers and fans.
- Launching her Eras Tour, a global concert series celebrating her whole discography from 2006’s self-titled debut to 2023’s latest release. The tour sold out stadiums and arenas worldwide, broke attendance and income records, and received wonderful reviews for its production, performance, and guest appearances. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, a documentary published in cinemas and on streaming platforms, gave a behind-the-scenes look at the tour and the superstar’s life.
- Folklore, her 2020 album, became the first woman and fourth artist to win the Grammy for Album of the Year for the third time. Her 2020 album Lover and her hit track Cardigan won Best Pop Vocal Album and Song of the Year, respectively. Performing with Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, she gave a breathtaking mashup of her songs at the ceremony.
- Taking back her masters, the original recordings of her first six albums, which Big Machine Records sold to Scooter Braun, a music manager and entrepreneur, sold them to Shamrock Holdings without her agreement. Swift has sued Braun and Big Machine for years, claiming them of blocking her from using her music and profiting from it. She settled with Shamrock Holdings in 2023, receiving complete ownership and management over her catalog in exchange for her master for an undisclosed fee.
- Raising awareness and support for fair compensation, creative freedom, sexual assault, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, and climate change through her platform and influence. She donated millions to MusiCares, GLAAD, ACLU, and UNICEF and encouraged her followers to do so. For her philanthropy and advocacy, she earned the Billboard Woman of the Year, GLSEN Respect Award, and Kennedy Center Honors.