Politicians, titans of industry and the occasional pope are the ones historically tapped as Time’s Person of the Year, but in 2023 the one person who “found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light” was Taylor Swift.
Swift is the first figure from the arts to be named Person of the Year for her success as an entertainer.
“Much of what Swift accomplished in 2023 exists beyond measurement,” Time Editor-in-Chief Sam Jacobs writes. “She mapped her journey and shared the results with the world: She committed to validating the dreams, feelings and experiences of people, especially women, who felt overlooked and regularly underestimated… For building a world of her own that made a place for so many, for spinning her story into a global legend, for bringing joy to a society desperately in need of it, Taylor Swift is Time’s 2023 Person of the Year.”
In an interview, Swift spoke about the sale of Big Machine to Scooter Braun and the claims made by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West about his song “Famous.”
On Kim and Kanye, she says: “Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me… You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar… That took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before. I moved to a foreign country. I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn’t trust anyone anymore. I went down really, really hard.”
As for her catalog being sold to Braun’s Ithaca Holdings for $300m: “With the Scooter thing, my masters were being sold to someone who actively wanted them for nefarious reasons, in my opinion… I was so knocked on my ass by the sale of my music, and to whom it was sold… I was, like, ‘Oh, they got me beat now. This is it. I don’t know what to do.’”
Well, she certainly came up with a good plan, didn’t she?
Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge tells Time the idea to re-record her albums and add unreleased tracks is “bizarrely brilliant and unique," elaborating, "It's got such a narrative—there’s a reason for it. Imagine Picasso painting something that he painted a few years ago, then recreating it with the colors of today.”
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