Taylor Swift a Marketing Genius?

The cover of 1989.


The cover of 1989.

Pauline Ngo, Photojournalist

Taylor Swift recently released her new album, 1989, at the end of October. It sold a record breaking 1.287 million copies in only the first week. 1989 earned the largest sales week for any album since 2002, which surprised everyone since predictors believed she was only going to sell around 750,000 albums in the first week. There is a reason why she was able to sell so many copies-her clever marketing tactics.


First, Taylor had a “1989 Swiftstakes” that lasted only the first week of the release of her album. When people purchased 1989, they received a paper with a unique code on it. If people enter the code online, they are joined in the contest to win thousands of prizes. Prizes include: two tickets/ meet and greet passes to a future show, 2 tickets to see Taylor live, an autographed picture from Taylor, a 1989 tote bag, or a 1989 guitar pick pack. This encouraged fans to buy her album because there was an incentive.


Secondly, Taylor pulled her entire music catalogue from Spotify, a music streaming service. Taylor concedes, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.” Taylor makes it harder for individuals to listen to her music online, so it almost forces them to purchase her album in order to listen to her new music.


Finally, Taylor hosted the 1989 Secret Sessions, where huge fans got the chance to go to her house in Los Angeles, New York City, Nashville, Rhode Island, and London. All the fans were able to listen to the entire album a month before it came out. This benefitted fans and Taylor both ways because fans would forever cherish this unique moment and Taylor would get free publicity for 1989 because fans would tweet telling people to go buy her album.


One Swiftie, Misa Okamoto (9), concedes, “Taylor is so down-to-earth and admirable, and she is so loyal to her fans.” However, she admits that she is “upset that [she] can’t listen to Taylor anywhere or anytime anymore since Spotify doesn’t have any of Taylor’s songs. Now [she] actually has to go buy her album, so [she] can listen to her new music.”