NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Taylor Swift, a girl who moved to Hendersonville with a dream of performing in Nashville, has changed the music industry.

“She’s the real deal,” said John Simson, business and entertainment program director at American University. “She’s the full package.”

Simson said Swift is setting a new bar for artists that only a select few can reach.

He went to see Swift on her 2013 “Red Tour” and said, yes, the stadium was packed; however, it was all local fans. Now, he said people are ready to pack a suitcase, buy a plane ticket and make a trip out of it, feeding directly into music tourism.

“She’s clearly one of a handful,” said Simson.

Among the handful, Simson referenced The Grateful Dead.

“There are plenty of other superstars who will come into a town and they still won’t take it over the way she is taking it over,” said Simpson.

He said he uses Swift as an example during the classes he teaches at American University, whether it was her taking on Apple Music and Spotify, fighting for artists to get paid for their work, or, fighting legal battles and re-recording all of her albums when the rights were sold from her.

“This is someone who has stood on principle,” said Simson. “It’s wonderful to see her sticking up for some of the other artists who have come before her… she knows she has the power… she really doesn’t need to do it, but she does it anyway.”

Simson said Swift has built a brand for herself, deeply connecting with fans online and at concerts.

“She’s incredibly savvy,” said Simson. “She’s built an empire.”

He compares this connection to Garth Brooks previously.

“He did things that no one else had done before him, you know, the idea of taking the people in the worst seats in the stadium and bringing them down to the first row, things like that, that kind of connection,” said Simson. “He was before social media. You only wonder what it would have been like, and you never know, maybe he wouldn’t have been good at it, but she’s just amazing at it.”

The Eras Tour kicks off in Nashville Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will return Saturday and Sunday nights.