Taylor Swift’s new album was streamed over 80 million times in one day.
Most contemporary popular (and many unknown) musical artists during the quarantine lockdown seem to be engaged in hustling for tips via Venmo and PayPal, putting on excruciatingly boring and mostly acoustic performance of their repertoire, to their followers on facebook. But not Taylor Swift. Working for her first time with Aaron Desnner of the National, with Jack Antonoff, William Bowery and Bon Iver and a collection of the National players, Swift, now 30 years of age, has recorded and released her eighth studio album, which she released abruptly and virtually unnanounced to her record label on July 24th, 2020. The cover art was photographed by Beth Garrabrant and Swift styled her own hair and makeup for the shoot.
Caption/Credit. Taylor Swift’s Official YouTube video for “cardigan” the lead single from her album ‘folklore.’ Swift sent celebrities and friends replicas of the cardigan she wore in this video.
Not only did ‘folklore’ break the world record number of streams via Spotify in one day on Spotify at 80.6 million times, but the 16 tracks of Folklore occupied the top 16 spots in the US Spotify charts simultaneously. ‘folklore’ also set a new 24-hour streaming record on Apple Music of 35.47 million, and reportedly sold 1.3 million copies worldwide within the first 24 hours of it’s release. Throwing out new music single–by-single has been the strategy of major musical artists in the past few years, but Swift’s latest move has undoubtedly shaken their (and their publicists’) confidence in this tactic. Does the abrupt release of ‘folklore’ reflect any part of Swift’s fight about the ownership of her repertoire with Big Mahcine Records, Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun of Ithaca Holdings?
What’s next in the mercantile world of popular music? How can a major artist shake up their followers and the media with new material? Besides absurd collaborations: think Dua Lipa and AC/DC or Megan Thee Stallion with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, perhaps Kaye West’s next album will be distributed on edible rice paper, playable only on 78 rpm.
Byline: Conrad Warre from London, England, writes for music publications and plays lead guitar in the Boston-based acid-blues band Bees Deluxe.