Shauni Figueroa, a sophomore listens to music that is considered anything but mainstream. Driving in the car with Figueroa you would most likely be listening to Led Zeppelin. She said she would not be caught dead listening to country or pop.
However, when Taylor Swift’s new song “Shake It Off” comes on, Figueroa said she is embarrassed to admit that she cannot stop singing along.
“The song is extremely catchy…I like it,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa is not alone in this sudden shift to being a “Swiftie.” Facebook recently released a report showing that since Oct. 21, just days before the release of her most recent album, “1989,” the number of Taylor Swift fans on Facebook jumped dramatically--soaring from 69 million to 71,515,688 in just three weeks.
The number of fans continues to increase each day. This increase has been reflected on many college campuses as more students are throwing away their preconceived notions of Swift and realizing the important message she has to share.
Chris Scott, a sophomore explained that he was never ‘anti-Taylor Swift’- she just never did much to impress him. However, he says that her new album is accompanied by a carefree attitude from Swift that people gravitate towards.
“There's something respectable about the confidence of her last album. ‘Shake It Off’ is all about the new confidence she's been exuding,” said Scott.
With the release of “1989,” Swift has definitely made changes in her advertising, as well as her music.
Alanna D’Alessandro, a sophomore said that Swift does an excellent job of keeping herself relevant by making herself accessible.
“It’s one thing to have a huge fan base but to show love to some of her fans personally makes her seem real and shows that she truly cares,” D’Alessandro said.
With this album Swift had private listening parties, Instagram posts with daily updates and has issued an app to invite fans in on her experience. She even sent anonymous fans personalized Christmas presents. While social media is one of the most popular forms of communication, Swift recognized this and used it to her advantage.
However, earlier this week Swift’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked, with her profile posting that fans should follow the “leader” of Lizard Squad, a hacking group. Both accounts were recovered within minutes and the posts were deleted. Swift has one of the largest followings on Twitter making her a high-profile account for the site.
Her message has also changed in her music to reach more people. While Swift used to write about fairytale endings and falling in love, this new album has a more mature message.
“This album is the first that has really catchy songs that students can turn on and have a dance party in their room to, rather than cry about their latest breakup,” D’Alessandro said.
Swift’s music relays a type of message that is accessible and relatable to young adults across the globe. This album shows that college students can vibe and have fun listening to respectable people. “She's confident, fun, attractive, or at least she appears this way and she seems like a generally good person,” said Scott.
This growth of Swift fans can be seen not only through Facebook, but also reflected in album sales. Nielsen SoundScan announced that Taylor Swift sold 1.287 million copies of “1989” in its first week of release. This would be impressive in any year, but no other album released in 2014 sold one million copies. Swift is gaining fans and has big sales numbers at a time where no one else does.
“She is being more real to herself and her lyrics….not to mention her outfits. She’s becoming an icon,” said D’Alessandro.
Siobhan McGirl can be reached at email@example.com.