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Is Taylor Swift Bigger Than The Beatles?

Taylor Swift is one of the biggest artists on the planet, but bands like The Beatles and Pink Floyd have amassed legions of rabid fans for decades.

Pop, Folk, Country

Taylor Swift gets a bad rap in the vinyl community. She has become known for releasing multiple collectible variants of an album and pressing them in large quantities. This makes her an easy person to blame for vinyl manufacturing delays and other record collecting grievances, even though unfortunate disasters and supply chain issues have contributed to long lead times at plants around the world. 

Her fans also get backlash from the larger music community. After all, it is the high demand for Taylor Swift records that makes her massive pressing runs possible. In the case of Midnights, her newest album released in 2022, fans were encouraged to collect four versions of the album because, when combined, the covers made a clock. It’s a clever marketing scheme, but how many T Swift fans actually bought that many copies of the same record? 

Collectors snatching up every release or hunting down different vinyl variants is not unique to Taylor Swift. Rabid music fans could argue all day about which artist harbors the worst offenders, but what does the Discogs data say about the community’s collecting habits? Does Taylor Swift have the most devoted fan base or are there other devotees that rival the legions of Swifties? 

To answer these questions, Discogs selected popular artists from the past five decades that had monumental impacts on popular music – including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and Madonna – then analyzed the amount of albums that Discogs users cataloged in their personal collections to determine who has the most intense fanbase.

Taylor Swift is not the most widely collected artist

Graph of the most widely collected artists

The artist that can be found in most people’s collections is The Beatles. Pink Floyd is a close second, while Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and Nirvana round out the top five. Taylor Swift comes in at No. 10 behind legendary artists like Metallica, Madonna, Daft Punk, and Prince. 

One could argue that Taylor Swift is No. 10 on the list because she has less releases than the other artists featured here. However, that’s not true across the board. Nirvana and Daft Punk both have fewer releases listed in the Discogs Database than Taylor Swift. Some of these artists have a wider fanbase on Discogs because they’ve been around much longer, but this isn’t the only way to assess fandom.

Taylor Swift fans are very likely to have multiple releases in their collections

Graph of artists with one release collected more than once

Just because Taylor Swift isn’t in as many collections as some of the most successful bands of all time, doesn’t mean that her followers aren’t full-blown fanatics. Diehard fans typically don’t just collect one record from their favorite artist, and Taylor Swift is definitely no exception. When looking at collections with two or more releases from the same artist, Taylor Swift ties with Pink Floyd at No. 2.

The reason she ranks so high is because of the amount of times she appears four or more times in collections on Discogs. T Swift fans are more likely to buy multiple releases than the artists selected for comparison. Of course, the one exception is The Beatles as they claim the No. 1 spot.

And collect more than one copy of the same album

Infographic of artists with one release collected more than once

Having multiple releases from an artist is pretty standard, but only the most dedicated fans will acquire multiple versions of the same record. By looking at the top 10 most collected albums from 2022, you can begin to develop an understanding of the most recent trends in the record collecting world. Recent reissues of fan favorites and multiple variants of popular 2022 releases make for a mix of newer albums, celebrated compilations, and classics.

Taylor Swift has two releases in the top 10; Folklore comes in at No. 5 while Midnights claims the No. 1 spot. The numbers show that most fans average two copies of Midnights in their collections, so the four LP marketing scheme seemed to only work on select Swifties.

Other notable releases that cracked the top 10 include Madonna’s Finally Enough Love, Ghost’s Impera, and Muse’s Will Of The People. However, out of the extremely popular artists used to compare fandoms, only Taylor Swift and Madonna were able to land on the top 10.

Once the list is expanded, artists like The Beatles begin to pop up; Please Please Me is entry No. 23 on the list with The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band right behind. The most shocking ranking is Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon at No. 28. It may be one of the most collected releases on Discogs, but most people typically own one copy.

Are Taylor Swift fans the most intense?

Not yet. 

She inspires fans to buy various releases and multiple copies of the same album, but the ratios and percentages presented here are based on her relatively short career and a discography that contains far fewer releases than most of the artists referenced in these graphs. The data that places Taylor Swift near the top also shows her surpassing other artists by some pretty slim margins. However, the most recent data focused on records collected more than once is trending towards her releases, which may lead to her winning the rabid fan prize in the not too distant future. 

For now, The Beatles and Pink Floyd remain the bands with the most passionate fans.

Essential Taylor Swift Records