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Music, Good Culture

Is the Taylor Swift Fan Union A Joke or What?

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Source: GETTY

Celebrity worship is here to stay.

We see how fans tattoo their idols' names or likenesses on their hands, legs, chest, and anywhere.

Such is the case of superstar Taylor Swift and her fans, who proudly call themselves Swifties. Undoubtedly, the Swifties have recently become one of the largest fan bases, throwing their weight behind Swift. These fans have developed a parasocial relationship with the musician, a one-sided connection people form with celebrities or characters they never meet.

This became a point of discussion when in April, Taylor Swift cut off ties with her boyfriend of over six years, British songwriter Joe Alwyn. While the news broke after her forthcoming Eras Tour was underway, some fans didn’t take the news too well.

Most Swifties felt personally affected by Swift’s breakup from Alwyn, who they thought would be the one to take it to the next level, as an engagement rumor was in the works.

But that wasn’t the news that rocked the internet in the days that followed. Between her tours, Taylor Swift was seen hanging out with the lead guitarist and vocalist of ‘The 1975’ pop rock band Matt Healy.

Insider news suggests that both musicians had linked up over a decade ago, but nothing concrete happened. However, recently, Swift started appearing on the rock band’s shows frequently. Insider news also reported that Taylor Swift and The 1975 collaborated to work on the Midnight album.

And that was what stirred the hornet’s nest. Swifties took to social media to voice their displeasure over Taylor’s choice of a boyfriend, even if it wasn’t confirmed that they were dating.


Matt Healy has become a person of interest after his infamous appearance as a guest on ‘The Adam Friedland Podcast.’ Ice Spice was the topic of the discussion, and throughout the episode, several racist tags were stamped on her.

Even though Healy wasn’t actively involved in dishing offensive tags to the female rapper, he never called the show hosts out on their online bullying. Which exactly catapulted him to Public Enemy Number #1 on the Swifties’ list.

Even after he apologized for his behavior, no one was buying it.

A group of disgruntled fans formed the Taylor Swift Fan Union (or TSFU). These fans were angry that Taylor cut ties with Joe only to end up with someone like Matt Healy.

They felt entitled to Taylor’s love life, and from their manifesto shared, they wanted Taylor to acknowledge it.

What are their Demands?

The TSFU’s manifesto, which has been shared across social media and beyond, begins with the following:

“Fans do the vast majority of promotion and marketing for Taylor Swift without being compensated.

Yet we, as fan workers, still have no formal bargaining power in the musical direction or brand identity of the celebrity we collectively created.”

The first sentence is unadulterated facts for Taylor Swift and every celebrity who has ever grabbed a mic to sing. However, it’s a wild concept to demand outright compensation for being hardcore fans of an artist. Musicians do their job by releasing music, going on shows, jumping on interviews, and partnering with brands to release consumer merchandise.

While artists receive fans' feedback occasionally in producing and releasing new content, it is very strange to demand statutory compensation.

“The Taylor Swift Fan Union offers fan workers the ability to collectively bargain for a creative vision of Taylor Swift that better aligns with our shared values.

The TSFU also demands the recognition of our labor through compensation and health benefits.”

At this point, most people see this manifesto as a backhanded joke. Demanding health benefits for streaming her songs, and in the most audacious way possible?

“Recently, many fan workers were harmed by Taylor’s unilateral decision to date an alt-right extremist without union consultation.

The TSFU unequivocally stands against hate and will work towards a future where this kind of workplace violence never happens again.”

If the TSFU’s manifesto was ever deemed to be taken seriously, the passage above invalidates it.

“To maintain accountability to fan values, we propose a seasonal meeting between Swift, her management, and elected TSFU representative to agree on matters relating to her future musical output, social life, touring schedule, commercial endorsement, and fan availability.”

This has to be peak comedy. There’s no hint of seriousness in these passages.

“As fanworkers who’ve dedicated countless hours to studying and constructively criticizing Taylor’s celebrity, we are uniquely well positioned to offer creative suggestions for her career moving forward.

Who better than fanworkers to determine what fanworkers want and need?”

Talk about evading a celebrity’s space in the most comedic way possible.

“The TSFU also seeks remuneration for previously uncompensated promotional labor.

This includes fanworkers’ fair share of revenue for album sales, streams, merchandise, and concert tickets—none of which would be possible without the labor of the TSFU. Many fanworkers are still processing the trauma of Taylor’s associations with the alt right despite her previous commitments to BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S allyship.

The TSFU looks to establish emergency mental health services for all those still suffering, including therapy and hospitalization costs.”

At this point, there’s nothing to say. The manifesto ends with this:

“By joining the United Musicians and Allied Workers, the TSFU looks to become the first formally recognized fan union in history—revolutionizing labor relations between fanworkers and the celebrities they've labored to create.

Now is our moment to end exploitation and create equitable representation for Swifties everywhere.”

While fans have the right to express their opinions and advocate for causes they believe in, the demands of the Taylor Swift Fan Union have exceeded reasonable expectations. From requests for exclusive access to the artist's personal life to unrealistic demands regarding album releases and creative decisions, the union's approach reflects a disconnect from the realities of the music industry and the artist's autonomy.

While Taylor Swift is yet to respond to these demands by the TSFU, whatever relationship she developed with Matt Healy has been called off. While these two events may be isolated, the breakup with Matt happened after the manifesto was released, leading people to believe that Taylor actually listened.

The Taylor Swift Fan Union serves as a reminder that while fan enthusiasm is essential for an artist's success, it is crucial to approach fandom with a sense of rationality and respect for the artist's boundaries. And that is not the case here.

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