The 2010s have been great to female pop stars such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Adele. However, the two who have defined the decade the most (at least when combining awards, record sales, and concert ticket sales) are Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Let’s compare and contrast the two.
Beyonce kicked off the decade with 4, and it failed to produce a top 10 single. However, “Run the World (Girls)” has become one of Bey’s most talked about hits. The album is certified platinum on RIAA, meaning that it has shipped over a million copies, but has sold a lot less.
However, Beyonce put things back in gear with her late-2013 surprise release. It ushered in the era of the “surprise album” and has sold 5 million copies worldwide. According to Yahoo, Beyonce’s latest album Lemonade has sold 1.52 million copies in the United States, and 4 million copies worldwide.
Like Beyonce, Taylor Swift has been active before this decade. And just like Beyonce, Swift has also peaked this decade. 2010’s Speak Now has sold over 4 million copies in the United States and 5 million worldwide. Billboard has Swift’s 2013 album Red selling over 4 million copies as of January 2015. At the end of 2015, 1989, her most recent album, sold 5.35 million copies. It has sold more than 10 million worldwide.
Taylor Swift is easily the winner in this category. Not only has she sold far more albums than Beyonce, but she has had a lot more hit singles as well.
Beyonce has become a huge touring act. According to Forbes, her 2014 Mrs. Carter Tour grossed $229 million. Then, as Billboard notes, her recent Formation World Tour grossed over $250 million and included some dates that sold more than 70,000 tickets.
“The highest-grossing stop on the tour came from two sellouts at London’s Wembley Stadium July 2-3 that took in $15.3 million and sold 142,500 tickets. Earlier in the run, an $11.5 million take from two sellouts at New York’s City’s Citi Field took in $11.5 million and moved 73,486 tickets as the highest-grossing date in North America.”
Taylor Swift’s Red World Tour grossed over $150 million when it ended in 2014. According to Time, Swift grossed over $250 million with her 1989 World Tour. Swift is definitely on the upswing when it comes to touring, but Beyonce takes the win in this category based on total revenue from her past two tours.
Beyonce and Taylor Swift have achieved a high amount of critical acclaim. Taylor Swift’s 1989 won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2016, and Beyonce is expected to win the Grammy for Lemonade in 2017. While both Beyonce and Taylor Swift have been accused of being overrated, it’s Swift who is attracting the biggest amount of backlash these days.
As 2016 started, Swift was still (many say undeservedly) being called a racist over her video for “Wildest Dreams,” which the Huffington Post criticized as bringing back white colonialism. However, the real backlash occurred after it was widely reported that Swift was unhappy with the use of her name in Kanye West’s song “Famous.” Unfortunately, a tape was released where people assumed that Swift gave Kanye approval of the song.
In the days of the Internet, the actual truth gets lost. In truth, Kanye never told Taylor he was going to call her “that b***h,” something that could be considered insulting for a young woman. Taylor responded in a way that her fans loved, but the Internet was just looking to bash Swift no matter what.
At the end of the year, as the Inquisitr noted, Swift’s new single from 50 Shades Darker wasn’t performing nearly as well as people expected. However, the song has experienced a boost on the charts recently, so it’s way too early to count out Swift, who will likely release a new album before the end of 2017.
Who do you think is the biggest pop star of the decade — Beyonce or Taylor Swift? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]