USC to offer course on Taylor Swift. Are you ready for it?
Story Date: 12/1/2023

USC to offer course on Taylor Swift. Are you ready for it?
Zoe Nicholson
Updated 17 hrs ago 
COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina is entering its Taylor Swift era. 

The School of Sport and Entertainment Management will offer the course “Life is Just a Classroom: Taylor’s Version” beginning with the Spring 2024 semester, according to Kate Blanton, the professor teaching the course. 

The class will focus on Swift’s business acumen and her “agency as a woman” in the music industry. Blanton and her students will dig into Swift’s storied career, including the re-recording of her songs in order to own her music catalog, branding, social media, tour management and merchandising. And, of course, the class will take some time to study the Swifties, the singer/songwriter’s legion of passionate fans. The students will also plan and host a Swift-themed event at the end of the class. 

“She’s changing the way that the music industry works and that’s something I think deserves study,” Blanton told Free Times. 

Blanton said the  40-seat class was already full, but has still been receiving emails from students asking to join the upper-level course. 

The class is for juniors and seniors only, Blanton said, and is aimed at allowing students to combine all the coursework they’ve had thus far through the “lens of this one particular artist.” 

“I really want to serve as a class where we look at all aspects of the consumer experience,” Blanton said. “And there’s gonna be students from the retailing department and hospitality, so we’re going to look at how (Swift’s) concerts impact tourism, and the merchandising aspect.” 

The course is offered under Sport and Entertainment Management, but Blanton said much of the program’s electives are sports-focused. “It’s an opportunity for (entertainment) students to use the skills that we’ve learned,” she added. 

The course syllabus includes lessons like, “My name is Taylor, and I was Born in 1989,” “Oh my God, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me” and “Sweet like justice, karma is a queen.” 

USC joins several universities across the country in offering courses on Taylor Swift, including Harvard University and the University of Florida. 

The influx of academic attention on Swift comes on amidst her Eras Tour, a greatest hits tour that’s set to gross a $1 billion and received such rabid attention that the launch of ticket sales crashed Ticketmaster’s website and prompted a federal investigation into the third-party ticket company. 

Blanton, a self-proclaimed Swifite hater until about eight months ago, attended the Eras Tour last spring and was converted. 

“Being part of this community of inclusiveness and promotion of just women solidarity, it’s just a really cool experience,” Blanton said of her Eras Tour visit. 

Swift is one of — if not the — world’s most successful working recording artists with 10 albums, four of which she’s re-recorded to obtain ownership of her masters after they were sold by her former label, Big Machine Records, to manager Scooter Braun. 

The move to own her creative works isn’t the first time Swift’s team asserted its business acumen. Since 2007, Swift has copyrighted key phrases popularized through her music and merchandising, owning more than 200 copyrights, according to intellectual property law firm, Michael E. Kondoudis. 

Swift’s concerts are quite the spectacle, too. The Eras Tour saw a three-plus hourlong set, where Swift performs tracks from all 10 of her records through a blaze of lights, dancers and stage design. The tour’s massive success culminated in October with a theatrical release of the Era’s Tour concert film, which grossed more than $100 million. 

Blanton’s course will lean on Swift’s domination of social media, and students will create their own accounts to learn firsthand how fans, businesses and consumers interact with the singer’s brand. 

“I’m hoping to bring some of the social media creators who focus on Taylor Swift to class at some point during the semester, as well, for panel discussion,” Blanton, an adjunct instructor and academic advisor at USC, said. 

“Life is Just a Classroom: Taylor’s Version” will be offered as a special topics course in Spring 2024 in the School of Sport and Entertainment Management, which is located within the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management.