According to Forbes, the top 10 most powerful women in the world are, in descending order: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, philanthropist Melinda Gates, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, General Motors chief executive Mary Barra, the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and first lady Michelle Obama.
Pop star Taylor Swift didn’t shine brightly enough to be classed with these luminaries. But, lower down on the Forbes list, she is shaking it off at No. 64.
“Such is her power,” Business Insider wrote, “Swift is one of the most followed celebrities on Twitter with 58 million followers, Forbes estimates her earnings last year were $64 million … and there were rumors earlier this year that her legs were ensured for $40 million.”
First launched in 2004, the Forbes list of powerful women is billed as the magazine’s “definitive annual audit of the foremost heads of state, iconic entrepreneurs and CEOs, celebrity role models, billionaire activists, and pioneer philanthropists, all ranked by money, media momentum, spheres of influence and impact.”
Swift wasn’t the only entertainer on Forbes’s list, nor the most powerful one — that would be Beyonce Knowles at No. 21 or, depending on how one defines entertainment, Oprah Winfrey at No. 12.
“The bona fide, cross-genre global megastar has not only broken record sales and captivated the world with her fantastically honest music, but she has proven herself as an impressive businesswoman,” Forbes wrote about Swift. “Late last year, the pop-country singer pulled her entire catalogue from Spotify, making at a strike for the notion that streaming services don’t adequately compensate artists.”
Swift’s stand against the ubiquitous streaming service was foreshadowed by an opinion piece about the music industry she wrote for the Wall Street Journal last year pointing out the importance of “fan power.”
“For me, this dates back to 2005 when I walked into my first record-label meetings, explaining to them that I had been communicating directly with my fans on this new site called Myspace,” Swift wrote. “In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans — not the other way around.”
Since the piece appeared, Swift has also joined the ranks of those offering tunes on Jay Z’s new service Tidal, a much-criticized attempt to give artists a bigger share of the profits they generate — though there have been reports Swift might ditch Tidal for Apple’s streaming service Beats.
At 25, Swift was also the youngest on the Forbes list, followed by 31-year-old Elizabeth Holmes (No. 72), founder of the blood-test company Theranos.
Swifties celebrated on Twitter. “I’m legit so proud of her,” one user wrote.