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Taylor Swift becomes first Time 'Person of the Year' to be recognized for success in the arts

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Time magazine has named Taylor Swift its "Person of the Year" for 2023, describing the singer as "transcending borders" and a "source of light."

The esteemed title is given to a person, group, concept or object that has influenced the events of the year. It is a tradition that dates back to 1927, and a title given "for better or for worse," the magazine's editor-in-chief said.

Time magazine editor-in-chief Sam Jacobs wrote that more often than not, the annual choice has been a man.

"'He' is very often a politician or a titan of industry," Jacobs' article reads.

Previous winners include U.S. presidents, world leaders, popes and other high-powered individuals.

This year's selection bucks the trend, with editors selecting not only a woman, but an artist.

There are good and bad things that happen each year, Jacobs wrote, but 2023 in particular had "significant shares of darkness."

This is part of the reason why the magazine named Swift "Person of the Year," as opposed to making a more traditional choice, he said.

"In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light," he writes. "No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well."

Swift is also the first person to have this recognition for success in the arts, which played a role in the selection.

"She did it by embracing what she does better than anyone, entertaining and writing songs that connect with people," Jacobs wrote. "Swift is also a symbol of generational change: she is only the fourth solo Person of the Year born in the past half century."

Swift has the "Midas touch," according to Jacobs, who used the term to describe her success. She spent 2023 at the top of the charts by re-releasing her albums, which set new streaming records.

An advocate for owning the rights to her music, Swift started re-recording albums released before 2017 because they were made under her former record, and the label wouldn't give her the rights, she said.

Her re-released albums "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" and "1989 (Taylor's Version)" had multiple songs dominate the Billboard Hot 100 this year — for a second time.

Her Eras Tour is on track to become the highest-grossing global tour of all time, the Time shortlist article said, and her concert film of the tour is the most successful concin history.

"This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt, and the most creatively fulfilled and free I’ve ever been," Swift told Time in an interview.

 

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