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The Blue & Gray Press | May 26, 2018

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Editorial: Taylor Swift changes the album marketing game


Regardless of how you feel about Taylor Swift, it is almost impossible to ignore her record-breaking success. According to Nielson SoundScan, Taylor Swift’s new album, released on Oct. 27, has had the largest sales week for any female artist since 2002.

“1989,” the singer-songwriter’s fifth and most recent album, is the first time Swift ever made Pop the sole music genre, meaning Swift did not promote her music on country radio stations, nor did she go to any country music awards-a precedent in her music career.

While her new pop and synthpop sound does create a huge change of spectrum within the music world, Swift’s unique and groundbreaking marketing strategies leading up to the release of “1989” make this album her most famous to date.

Swift began advertising the album long before it was released by posting hints for the albums’ release date through various videos and photos on her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page, her main forms of social media, on Aug. 4 and Aug. 6. Through the utilization of social media, she was able to reach out to her younger, more tech-savy fan base, also known as the majority of the people buying her albums.

On Aug. 13 the artist then confirmed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that her first single, “Shake it Off,” would be released on Aug. 18. This announcement gravitated and was directed more toward her older fan-base.

A week later Swift did something no artist has ever done before: she hosted a worldwide live stream with Yahoo Screen Live to announce the title of her album, her newest single “Shake It Off” and its music video.

This strategy not only debuted her new era of music, but it made her fans feel like they were her best friends chatting about her greatest passion. The Twitterverse was taken by storm. The year “1989” was more thansimply a year in time.

On Oct. 13, Swift and her marketing team released a second song from “1989” called “Out of the Woods.” This allowed for her fans to get another sneak peek into her new pop album, which also made the Pre-Order sales for “1989” rise. After its midnight release “Out of the Woods” became #1 on iTunes in a matter of minutes.

The artist continued advertising by posting the lyrics of her third track, “Welcome to New York,” on Instagram in her own handwriting. This made “Swifties” even more anxious to hear a new track. However, when it came time to purchase the third song, fans were required to preorder the album.

As expected, Swift’s fans not only bought “Welcome to New York,” but also preordered “1989.” According to Apple, the musician’s album broke the pre-order record for U.S. stores, just surpassing One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” with over 195,000 pre-orders.

By the time this past week came around, “1989” was already the No. 1 album on iTunes. Swift also created a deal with Target by only selling her “Deluxe “ version there, which made not only her sales skyrocket, but Target’s sales as well.

The deluxe version included three extra songs and clips of Swift’s writing process, another look into the mysterious world of Taylor Swift that the media and fans cling to daily. The pre-order and Target purchasing strategy led to an incredible total of 1.3 million albums.

Even though Swift has a reputation for being too whiny and complaining about her boy problems far too often, one has to admit that a thing or two could be learned from her when it comes to marketing strategies and creating catchy, best-selling albums.