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Business News/ News / What It Takes to Be in the One Percent—of Taylor Swift Fans
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What It Takes to Be in the One Percent—of Taylor Swift Fans

wsj

Swifties listened to billions of the superstar’s songs for countless hours in 2023. Some even achieved their wildest dreams.

Taylor Swift’s Eras tour was the biggest live concert series of 2023 and will continue in 2024. Premium
Taylor Swift’s Eras tour was the biggest live concert series of 2023 and will continue in 2024.

Given Taylor Swift’s epic year—the billion-dollar Eras tour, four simultaneous Billboard top-10 albums, a blockbuster movie, Travis Kelce—it’s no surprise she also took the top spot as the most streamed artist in Spotify’s year-end Wrapped roundup.

Fans listened to her songs more than 26.1 billion times, Spotify announced Wednesday. The Wrapped results also told Swifties how they ranked among their peers.

This year, it was harder than ever for individuals to crack the top 1% of Taylor Swift listeners. Some woke with ricocheting tears, discovering they fell to the top 2% or 3%. A handful found themselves in the elite top 0.001%.

The Wall Street Journal analyzed dozens of results Swifties shared on Instagram, X and Reddit, focusing on two stats: their percentile ranking and the corresponding number of minutes they listened.

Our analysis showed that you would have needed over 6,000 minutes of listening to get into the top 1%. Nearly 10,000 minutes and you’d be in the top 0.5%. As shown in the chart above, ranking got steeper after that. To reach the peak 0.001% ranking, you had to hear nothing but Taylor for 150,000 minutes, give or take. That’s over 100 days of nonstop “Bad Blood."

Look what you made me do

Spotify ranks listeners up through the top 35%, but users can only see how they rank for their most-listened-to artist, and not anyone else on their year-end playlist. One top listener logged 346,705 minutes of Swift. That is the better part of a year.

Leah Litman landed in the top 0.05% of Taylor Swift fans. The 39-year-old University of Michigan law professor is a longtime fan and primarily listens to Swift’s albums and her own Swift-themed playlists.

“I do feel a little tinge of pride that I am in the 0.05% and also a little disappointed that I’m not even higher," Litman says.

To get her 0.05% ranking, Litman had to listen to 30,853 minutes of Taylor Swift. By comparison, one Carly Rae Jepsen fan only had to log 1,973 minutes to nab that same score.

Sally Salado, a 30-year-old founder of a digital marketing agency, woke up to the news that she made it to the top 0.5% of Swift listeners, with 13,318 minutes under her belt.

The Miami resident listened to Swift during workouts and certain songs or albums like “Red (Taylor’s Version)" during the fall, streaming her albums in full to follow the narratives. Salado attended the Eras tour in Tampa, and hopes to attend the Miami show next year.

“She’s been my top artist before to various degrees, but this is the first time she’s dominated my entire Spotify Wrapped," she says.

You’re losing me

Sometimes, not hitting the upper echelon of fandom can sting. Jersey City, N.J., resident Kamilah Cole took it personally.

The 33-year-old author was surprised she was in the 3% of Swift fans, dropping from her 2% spot last year.

“Technically, I guess it doesn’t matter but it did break my heart a little bit that my percentage seems to be going down," Cole says. “She counts on me to show up for her every year on the Spotify laps."

But strangely, Cole’s total Swift listening this year topped 17,290 minutes according to Spotify. Based on our analysis, that should have placed her in the top 0.5%. Whatever the glitch, Cole has plans to step up her streams for the next year to reclaim her title.

A Spotify spokeswoman said the company had insufficient information to weigh in on the matter.

It’s 2 a.m. and I’m cursing your name

In 2024, you have some options. You could accept the fact that, with a relatively paltry 304 minutes, you will end up only cracking the top 13% of Taylor Swift fans. Assuming the goal posts don’t move—and with Swift, that’s not a safe assumption.

But if you want to reach for the gold dress, that top 0.001%, you might need to quit your day job—or pray your boss is also a fan.

The lowest amount of time the WSJ found that still qualified for that peak 0.001% ranking was 150,000 minutes. That is 2,500 hours or just over 104 days of nonstop music. If you factor in eight hours of sleep a night, the goal would stretch to 156 days. Of course, you could always keep the music playing during those nighttime hours.

“I am absolutely, definitely going to aim to get back to 0.05% of listeners next year," pledged Cole, “even if I have to listen to every single album until I learn the words in my sleep."

—For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com

Kamilah Cole was frustrated that she only ranked in the top 3%; last year, she was in the top 2%.
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Kamilah Cole was frustrated that she only ranked in the top 3%; last year, she was in the top 2%.

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