Are Taylor Swift And Billie Eilish *Actually* Fighting?

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Taylor Swift is no stranger to a famous feud. In fact, she’s somewhat synonymous with them. 

While Taylor has built an empire off the back of her work ethic, insane talent as a pop songwriter/performer and ability to connect with the fandom, we can’t deny that her very public clashes with her peers are a large part of her story (even when she requests to be excluded from the narrative).  

But with every public rivalry, it can be hard to decipher what is real, what is manufactured and what the fans are projecting. 

When I first heard that there were reports of a Taylor/Billie Eilish conflict, I was disappointed. I admittedly feel much more comfortable when Taylor is beefing with men, (take that, Scooter Braun! Not today, Kanye West), but similarly to my reaction to Taylor vs Olivia Rodrigo, I had a knot in my stomach with the Billie rumours. While Olivia and Billie have forged incredible careers of their own, Taylor is lightyears ahead in stardom, experience and power, so it almost feels like anything Taylor does is punching down.

are taylor swift and billie eilish fighting?

Image Credit: Getty

I am a huge Taylor fan, but I have never identified as a Swiftie, because I don’t think blind (maniacal) support is overly helpful (unless I am on the receiving end, in which I welcome it). I think the best thing about her is that she is fallible, and I love watching how she approaches each move, even when she misses the mark.

So, my interest was piqued when I learned that Taylor decided to release new additions of The Tortured Poets Department available for purchase on May 16th and 17th. The latter date, of course, being the release date of Billie’s latest album, Hit Me Hard and Soft

Perhaps it’s a coincidence, I thought to myself, before quickly remembering that Ms. Swift is one of the most calculated women in entertainment. She’s told us through her work and her meticulously-planted easter eggs, that she is in fact a Mastermind

This seemingly sparked a release battle between the two artists, with both Billie and Taylor releasing new versions of their albums and remixes of tracks within the next week. Ultimately, Taylor was able to retain her position at number one of the Billboard Top 200 charts for a fifth consecutive week, an insane metric that has become the norm for her, with Billie perched firmly at number two.

Fans are speculating that tensions initially emerged after Billie’s March 2024 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. While not naming Taylor, she spoke out against an aspect of the music industry that irked her. 

“We live in this day and age where, for some reason, it’s very important to some artists to make all sorts of different vinyl and packaging … which ups the sales and ups the numbers and gets them more money,” she expressed. “I can’t even express to you how wasteful it is.”

“Then it’s some of the biggest artists in the world making fucking 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more… It’s so wasteful, and it’s irritating to me that we’re still at a point where you care that much about your numbers and you care that much about making money.”

The profile details Billie’s approach to vinyl records, in which she goes to great lengths to ensure the process is as environmentally friendly as possible. Billie’s mum, who also featured in the interview, noted that “she’d like to see limits on vinyl musicians can put out,” with the profile’s author Christy Piña being the one to use Taylor’s then-upcoming TTPD vinyl releases as an example (“each of which had a different cover and one unique song, encouraging fans to buy all four”).

Billie was forced to make a statement via her Instagram stories, clarifying that she was referring to “industry-wide systemic issues” and not singling any artist out.

Fast-forwarding to May, post-TTPD and HMHAS album releases, Billie made remarks while interviewed on the Stationhead App that ignited the flames. When the topic of live performances came up, Billie referred to a three-hour set as “literally psychotic”. 

“Nobody wants that. You guys don’t want that. I don’t want that. I don’t even want that as a fan. My favourite artist in the world, I’m not trying to hear them for three hours,” she remarked. This was pretty pointed, and the Swifties weren’t happy, with X (AKA Twitter) flooding with statements accusing Billie of being insecure and not a girls-girl. 

are taylor swift and billie eilish fighting?

Image Credit: X/NidhiEdiga

Billie’s fandom has been quick to defend their queen on Reddit, applauding her for being more politically outspoken (especially at a young age) and even suggesting that Taylor is envious of Billie’s Oscar wins. 

After everything I’ve seen, I would say that this feud is in the ‘real, manufactured and fan projection’ grey area. Every outlet reporting on this alleged feud has referred to it as largely fan-driven, and there’s one dominant theory prevailing, which is to follow the money. 

As Glamour journalist Elizabeth Logan concluded her piece, “Billie Eilish is signed to Interscope Records, and Taylor Swift is signed to Republic Records, both of which are owned by Universal Music Group, and I personally would not put it past a crafty UMG PR executive to fabricate a chart war to get both artists’ fan bases to buy the music.” 

My final thoughts: both artists are incredibly talented, both albums are superb, and it’s only fun when women feud with men. 

Written by Lil Friedmann, a staunch defender of reality television and investigator of celebrity fallouts. You can follow her at @lilfriedmann on socials.

Image credit: @billieelish Instagram, @taylorswift Instagram + Punkee