Taylor Swift’s Billionaire Status Highlights Ethical Issues


Leila Assadi

Swift’s influence is well-established with most individuals owning an item related to her.

Sumika Thapa, Feature editor

Capturing the hearts of millions, Taylor Swift catapulted to fame in 2006 with the release of her self-titled debut album “Taylor Swift.” Throughout the last sixteen years, Swift has made the world her stage, garnering success, adoration and substantial wealth solely from her musical endeavors. Swift is estimated to be worth $570 million; however, that value is set to double with the estimated revenue of her upcoming “Eras Tour,” setting her up to reach billionaire status. 

Though a feat such as this would typically be celebrated, its reception from the public, specifically her followers, has been divisive. Fans on platforms such as Twitter and Tiktok are divided over the issue, expressing both a cry of outrage and a congratulatory tone. 

Swift is recognized for her devoted, unquestioning fanbase that is notorious for supporting her every step, yet her most recent achievement seems to be a rare exception. 

Rather than treating this development as another milestone in the musician’s journey, fans face an ethical conundrum. The problem for individuals isn’t necessarily the monetary value Swift is acquiring, but rather the morality behind how it was obtained. 

Focus has shifted to a glaring question: Can Taylor Swift be an ethical billionaire?  

A heated discourse has broken out on social media with two clear sides: Swift’s devoted supporters and those who do not believe in ethical billionaires. A large portion of her fanbase wholeheartedly believes Swift deserves her wealth because of her numerous accomplishments in the music industry. 

The opposition presents the argument that Swift’s worthiness of the billionaire status is not the concern, but rather the ethics of billionaires. Some fans are inquiring how this new status reflects the validity of her character, stating that an “ethical billionaire” is dichotomous and therefore does not exist.  

Individuals who find Swift’s attainment of wealth problematic further their argument by explaining that in a capitalist economy, copious amounts of wealth can only be generated through the exploitation of various groups and resources, staining any acquired profits  with the violation of the less fortunate. 

Skepticism of fans is not without reason, as Tiktok users voice their concerns about the lack of information on how Swift’s merchandise is sourced. Tiktok user and Swift fan @Hailey commented, “I don’t love that a good portion of her money comes from merch. Like we don’t need eight copies of the same exact thirteen songs. Wasteful!” Additional comments cited the lack of transparency around who is making the merch, what compensation the workers receive and what the working conditions are like. 

Swift is no stranger to controversy, as she was also under scrutiny in 2022 for the carbon emissions released by her private jet. The jet’s operations are rumored to be equivalent to an entire nation’s carbon footprint, emitting  around 8,293.54 metric tons of CO2 in the first six months of 2022. 

PV senior and avid Swift fan Erin Mcgregor expressed her concerns for Swift’s lack of awareness.” I think someone who is as influential as her should be aware of the implications her actions can have, especially if she is an advocate for those things ,” shared Mcgregor.

As the discussion around the ethics of the billionaire status expands, Swift’s acolyte-like following has corralled in her defense by shining light on Swift’s philanthropic ventures such as work with the ALS Association and GLAAD. They argue Swift lives up to the great responsibility that follows her fame by giving back to society. 

Butting heads, the other part of her fan base argues Swift can either be a billionaire or ethical, but not both, as philanthropy does not erase collateral damage caused by her success. 

Pioneering the music of an entire generation, Taylor Swift has undoubtedly left her mark on this world. The present day decisions she makes regarding her newfound status of a billionaire will undoubtedly affect the legacy she leaves behind.