Is Taylor Swift's Popularity Close To The Beatles? Stats Say THIS

Let’s compare the chart-topping successes and record sales of Taylor Swift and The Beatles. Here, we are highlighting their achievements in different eras and music industry landscapes.

Published on Jun 06, 2024  |  12:34 AM IST |  43.2K
IMDb (The Beates) and Getty Images (Taylor Swift)
IMDb (The Beates) and Getty Images (Taylor Swift)
Key Highlight
  • The Beatles have more UK number-one singles
  • Combined certified sales in the UK and US for both artists total nearly 295M

Taylor Swift is on her tour, Eras, which is one of the most successful in history and has had a massive impact on UK media. Her influence has grown rapidly for some time now. Music sales are not the only thing she boosts; it has an impact on the global economy.

A cultural and economic juggernaut

It’s been a monumental success, that’s why. Pollstar’s year-end 2023 charts reveal that this is the first-ever tour to gross over $1 billion. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour by Sir Elton John made $939 million; however, it was passed by ERAS TOUR. It is projected that at least $ 4 billion could be raised during her journey through life. As such, it cannot be denied that her reach is unmistakable.

Taylor Swift became Time's Person of the Year for being a cultural icon and also became Music's first female billionaire through songwriting and recording alone. Her songs have become anthems all over the globe. She has always been among the biggest musicians, but now she may be considered as possibly one of the best of all time.

Swift vs.The Beatles: A comparison

In order to answer this question, one needs to look back at The Beatles, who are often referred to as the most influential musical act ever lived. It was last October when Swift released his fifth album titled 1989 (Taylor's Version). 

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This made international headlines again. Meanwhile, The Beatles reissued their classic Red and Blue album collections along with releasing a new song, Now And Then. However, despite considering what they mean historically, Taylor Swift retained her number one position on this chart.

However, during these rerecordings, Taylor will also include old material, which shows how she can still top charts with familiar songs. She is absolutely the greatest artist for any Swiftie out there. Nevertheless, Fab Four fans claim no one can beat them.

ALSO READ: ‘One Of The Most Gifted Pop Artists': Smashing Pumpkins' Corgan Defends Length Of Taylor Swift's TTPD Album

Topping charts

The Beatles had more number ones as a band. They started having number-one singles very early in their career. In 1963, they had their third single, From Me To You, topping the charts in the U.K. This was followed by a series of hits like She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, and Hey Jude.

On the other hand, it took Taylor Swift a longer time to land her first UK number-one single. Her 2017 track Look What You Made Me Do took her to the top of the charts. Her biggest-selling hit, Shake It Off, could only manage number two in the UK. She had another number-one hit with Anti-Hero (2022) before recently releasing songs like Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) and her collaboration with Post Malone on Fortnight.

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In terms of albums, though, they are more balanced. The Beatles had all but one of their 12 studio albums reach number one in the UK, peaking at number three for their album Yellow Submarine. Meanwhile, they managed to dominate the US charts several times, including live albums or compilation ones.

Ever since she debuted, Swift’s albums have consistently reached number one in the US. In the UK, the fourth album, Red, became her first chart-topper, and every album since then has been too.

Record sales

Determining record sales is tricky due to the non-inclusion of certification for all sales. According to Guinness estimates by EMI, The Beatles have sold over one billion discs and tapes worldwide.

When we consider certified sales of studio albums in both countries, however, there are more platinum and gold records held by The Beatles in the UK. Nonetheless, Swift leads by far in America. Put together, these two countries’ certified sales amount to nearly 295 million.

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For instance, platinum albums are BPI-certified if they attain 300000 units, while gold ones need to sell at least 100000 copies within them, which was set by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). On the other hand, RIAA certifies an album as a diamond if it sells 10 million units and platinum when it reaches 1 million. At the same time, gold occurs when an album attains half a million copies in the USA, according to RIAA.

ALSO READ: Taylor Swift Performs First Ever 'Rain Show' In Eras Tour Lyon; Deets Inside

The trophy cabinet

Taylor Swift tops the chart of awards, but part of that is because there are more of them now. She has 26 Teen Choice Awards and 40 American Music Awards, which did not exist in the 1960s. She has also been nominated for an impeccable amount of fifty-two times for the Grammy award and won it fourteen times. 

Midnights and Folklore were two albums that made her the only musician to win Album of the Year Grammy four times. Nevertheless, despite seven nominations, she never won Song of the Year.

The Beatles won seven Grammy out of twenty-three nominations, including Best New Artist and Best Performance by a Vocal Group in 1964. Although impressive, this record is beaten by Beyoncé, who boasts over thirty-two Grammys in her collection from about eighty-eight nominations, far beyond Taylor Swift’s number.

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Record breakers

Taylor Swift has at least 77 records, Guinness says, while The Beatles have at least 29. Swift’s re-recorded Fearless in 2021 outstripped The Beatles’ record for the highest number of chart-topping albums in a UK year. She also exceeded their record of most weeks in the top ten on Billboard 200. In April, her album The Tortured Poets Department made her the quickest artist to reach twelve UK number ones.

Swift’s records consist of having been the most streamed act on Spotify within 24 hours and causing seismic activity equivalent to a concert earthquake with a magnitude of about 2.3. Significantly, the Beatles’ records include being the best-selling group ever and having the most consecutive weeks at number one on the UK album charts.

ALSO READ: Taylor Swift Aspires To Direct Her Own Film; 5 Times She Directed Herself

Economic impact

It is anticipated that Swift’s Eras Tour will inject almost $1 billion into the British economy as approximately 1.2 million of her fans are expected to attend these shows. 

These fans will spend, on average, £848 on tickets, travel expenses, and other purchases. However, it is difficult to assess The Beatles' economic impact, unlike in 2016, when they contributed £81.9 million annually to Liverpool’s economy, thereby supporting over two thousand three hundred jobs.

Is Taylor Swift bigger than The Beatles?

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Comparing Taylor Swift with The Beatles can be such a challenge; they became popular during different times under unique conditions. Comparisons cannot be made directly due to factors like inflation, population increase, and streaming services. Even so, there are experts who have had some say in this intriguing issue.

Dave Fawbert from Swiftogeddon thinks no one tops what Swift has done today. Swift’s melodic gifts are evident in songs like Shake It Off, which boasts multiple hooks. For all Swift’s songs, they are so well written that by the third chorus, you can sing along with the melody.

Fawbert also praises her lyrics, which capture universal emotions and specific details, spanning various genres. Compared to Michael Jackson of the 1980s and 1990s, he says she is dominant at the moment. But at least Taylor is close enough because, as for him, “I mean, they're the best; I'm not sure they'll ever be surpassed, but Taylor's close.”

ALSO READ: Does Taylor Swift Have A New Eras Tour Setlist Ahead Of UK Shows? Find Out

Timeless Beatles

According to The Bootleg Beatles, a UK-based tribute group, it is not fair to compare Swift with the Beatles. According to them, the Beatles' music has stood the test of time. 

As they tour around both the UK and other parts of the world, “the reaction we get as we continually tour around the UK - we're back this month - and indeed the world, is testament to that,” they say. However, they feel that it would be "around 50 years too early" to draw an accurate comparison involving Swift’s talent.

Challenges in different eras

Tom Green, a Hits Radio presenter, states that both artists owned the zeitgeist of their time. He says there was limited media competition in the sixties, making it easier for The Beatles to dominate. 

It is more challenging today because there are numerous media outlets, but it still captures universal attention as Swift does. Green emphasizes that The Beatles brought rock and roll into pop music, which was highly significant.

To wrap up, Taylor Swift’s talent and success are undisputed; however, comparing her to The Beatles remains a complex issue. Both have had indelible impacts on their respective generations, ensuring this discussion will continue for years.

ALSO READ: What Is Post-Eras Tour Depression? New Report Debunks Taylor Swift Concert Blues

FAQs

Who has more number-one singles in the UK, Taylor Swift or The Beatles?
The Beatles have more UK number-one singles than Taylor Swift.

Which artist has higher certified album sales in the US?
Taylor Swift has higher certified album sales in the US than The Beatles.

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About The Author

Shovan has a Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism degree from Calcutta University. He loves to live in the

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