I Fell for Taylor Swift’s Marketing Strategy

I didn’t like Taylor Swift until very recently. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy her music, but because I wasn’t actively listening to it. She quickly became one of those people I couldn’t avoid, like running into my nemesis on the street (you know who you are), and once I did start listening to her, I found her music to be fun and catchy, for a variety of reasons that people have worded very well elsewhere.

I was also impressed by Swift’s ability to market herself. She really is a marketing genius. When her newest album came out, I bought it, not because I had been waiting to buy it, truthfully, but because buying it was the only way you could listen to it (Edith may have played some role in this—she often listened to Swift in the office, and I stepped into her web). Red was not available on Spotify, which pays musicians very little money for licensed music.

In the most recent episode of the Planet Money podcast, Digital Music News editor Paul Resnikoff and a 17-year-old fan explain why Swift doesn’t need Spotify:

Taylor already has so many fans that she doesn’t need to have that, like, incentive, like, oh, listen to this and then you’ll like it and then you’ll buy it. I feel like she’s past that level. People will literally just buy it.

Which was true! Because I bought it, and I would not have bought it if was available on Spotify or if she licensed it to NPR Music’s First Listen. Musicians without the same recognition don’t have this same luxury—they often have to get their name and music out there and in the ears of listeners to discover them, and Spotify is one of the tools they use to do that.

Now that I have it, Logan’s been trying to tell me which song on the album is about which boy Swift dated. Logan says this is also part of Swift’s marketing strategy: It’s a game for fans and celebrity news sites to play by reading the album’s liner notes, and once they figure it out, they immediately write about it which gives Swift even more press. I’ve plugged my ears to all of this. I like her songs better when they’re about love and loss, and not when it’s just a song about Taylor Lautner.

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15 Comments / Post A Comment

honey cowl (#1,510)

1. Best alt text ever.
2. I will give T-Swift all of my money every time she puts out a record for as long as we both shall live, I do not care if I am 24 and technically too old for this, IT IS WORTH IT.

wearitcounts (#772)

there is no way Mike Dang has a nemesis.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@wearitcounts Rats! You beat me to it!

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

I can’t be the only one wondering who could possibly be Mike Dang’s archnemesis…

Megano! (#124)

@EvanDeSimone You are not.

Megano! (#124)

I totally forgot she ever dated Taylor Lautner.

aeroaeroaero (#1,422)

@Megano! How could you forget TAYLOR ON TAYLOR?!

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@aeroaeroaero I believe T-Squared was the preferred nomenclature.

jfruh (#161)

Wait, Mike D. and Logan S. and Edith Z. hang around AwlCo LLC’s offices and talk about Taylor Swift? LEDE: BURIED

but seriously. we are like … neverrrrrrrr getting back together.

…wouldn’t it be terrible if she actually got back together with [rumour: Jake Gyllenhaal]??? (did she even actually date JG? no effing clue)

elizabeast (#629)

But it IS on Spotify! (minus a couple of songs, which is par for the course with Spotify.)

j-i-a (#746)

WOW coincidentally I added a Taylor Swift song (Trouble) to my iTunes library today, the first T-Swift song ever to appear on my computer. I think she’s drop-dead gorgeous and a ballin songwriter but have never truly liked a song of hers before this one. And now I can’t stop listening to this Israeli 50-kid rock band cover of it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5yypdmj9dg

dotcommie (#662)

i’ve started liking taylor swift since she started wearing boldass red lipstick and heavy bangs all the time (perhaps because I too wear red lipstick and heavy bangs)

janestreet (#1,123)

It makes me so happy that Edith listens to Taylor in the office.

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