A study in pop: Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo


Kate Plass

Here is a breakdown of the similarities and differences between Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.

Kate Plass, Freelance Writer

Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift are both pop music icons, but they have some differences. Here is a breakdown of the similarities and differences between Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.


Both Taylor Swift and Oliva Rodrigo have had plagiarism claims. Swift was accused of plagiarism for her song “Shake It Off” saying the song is entirely based on the lyrics “players, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate,” coined in a 2001 song “Playas Gon’ Play” by R&B girl group 3LW. The lawsuit was thrown out in court because the judge “ruled the phrases in question were not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.”

Rodrigo, on the other hand, had to pay money to both Swift and the music group Paramore for plagiarism based on the songs “Cruel Summer” and “Misery Business” in her songs “deja vu” and “good 4 u.”

Music rights

While Rodrigo owns the rights to her master recordings, it wasn’t so easy for Swift to own hers. When Swift changed record labels her old record label still kept her original recording, masters, to her songs, and they make money off of them. To own her masters Swift is re-recording her first six albums, and her most recent re-recording was released on Nov. 12, 2021.

Lockdown albums

Both artists were productive during the pandemic lockdown. Swift produced two critically acclaimed albums – “folklore” on July 24, 2020, and “evermore” on Dec. 11th, 2020. About five months after the release of “evermore”, Rodrigo released her first album titled “Sour” on May 21, 2021.

“New Year’s Day”

In 2017 on Swift’s sixth album “reputation”, she made a song with Jack Antonoff called “New Year’s Day.” In 2021 on Rodrigo’s debut album she sampled the piano track from that song and used it in her song “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” and made them co-writers on the track.


No one is a stranger to heartbreak and when you come up with a very good breakup song fans start to speculate who the song was written about. Rodrigo’s hit song “Driver’s License” was rumored to be about her “High School Musical: The Musical – The Series” co-star Joshua Bassett. While Swift’s song “Style” was rumored to be about Harry Styles.


Swift has been nominated for plenty of Grammy Awards and has won a total of 11 in her career so far. While Rodrigo is just starting and hasn’t won a Grammy yet, she is likely to be nominated for one with her debut album.


Both artists have had acting careers. Swift has focused on movies like “Cats” in 2019, and the “Hannah Montana” movie in 2009. Additionally, Rodrigo has worked with Disney on TV shows “Bizaardvark” and “High School Musical: The Musical – The Series.”

Different genres

Rodrigo has started and so far stayed in the genre of pop. Swift started off singing country music and crossed over to singing Pop music and remains popular in both genres.


Swift has worked with plenty of other big-name artists like Ed Sheeran, Gary Lightbody, Shawn Mendes and Zayn to create some of her amazing duets. Rodrigo hasn’t made any showstopping collaborations yet.

Types of songs

Swift has made plenty of different types of songs including country, upbeat pop songs and sad ballads. Her songs are lyrical stories that are meant to help her listeners deal with everyday life. Rodrigo has made an upbeat song here and there but mostly has stuck to sadder ballads.