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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Taylor Swift: marketing genius or greedy billionaire?

A photo of Swift announcing the version of “The Tortured Poets Department” that contains the bonus track “The Bolter.”

From the moment I first listened to folklore amid the pandemic to the scream I let out when she announced The Tortured Poets Department, I have found myself a fan of Taylor Swift. 

I have, however, begun avoiding the term “Swiftie” for all of the insane fans who bear the name that I do not find myself relating to. Nonetheless, I know every song inside and out and consider Swift to be a kind, genuine artist who serves as a great role model for many.

Even though I’m an avid fan, I am able to step back and view many of her controversies without bias, and while I’m usually on her side, there are exceptions—her excessive use of her private jet, her recent billionaire status, her specific uses of feminism that often only benefit her, and, most recently, her marketing strategies that demand so much money from her fans.

There are endless examples of her being a strategic businesswoman and each time I applauded her, but lately, it’s been getting out of hand.

When her seventh studio album Lover was released, she released four different versions of the CD, all with exclusive content from Swift’s journals. With folklore came many vinyl and CD variants of different colors and album covers. At this point in her career, these strategies were mostly harmless and deemed as intelligent methods to make more money—of course, she didn’t need more, but the sentiment was overall positive.

However, once we entered the Midnights era, things shifted and the money grabs were obvious and out of control.

Swift recently reached billionaire status, and she has no reason to be charging such absurd amounts of money to fans who only want to listen to her music.

First, the album was announced, and the Moonstone Blue vinyl variant was being sold. Then, a couple of days later, three new vinyls were released—in the colors Jade Green, Blood Moon, and Mahogany—marketed as special editions that were only available for one week. After the week ended, the Target-exclusive, lavender-marbled edition was released, along with a CD that had three bonus tracks. 

The excessive releasing of exclusive versions in itself was annoying, not to mention the fact that they were all spaced out, leading fans to have to choose between versions without knowing that even more would be coming soon.

A couple of days after the Target editions came out, the three variants that were said to be only out for a week came back into stock, and it was revealed that the three special editions plus the original Moonstone Blue vinyl could be made into clock using the back covers. Swift began separately selling a set of materials to use the four albums and make a functioning clock; this is a cool concept, but the amount of money the ordeal costs is simply ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that this atrocious display of consumerism is detrimental to the environment.

That was only the beginning. There were signed editions, four separate digital albums with exclusive content, remixes, and new editions that were only available at specific tour locations.

Fans’ wallets seemed to get a break with the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), but 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was another painful stretch. It wasn’t as bad as Midnights though; the only crime of this album was the four different releases of vinyl variants, at different times, with limited availability. This, once again, forced fans to purchase albums without knowing that another color that they prefer could come out in a week.

On Feb. 5, Swift announced the tracklist for her upcoming album; The Tortured Poets Department has 16 tracks, along with one bonus track, “The Manuscript.” However, at one of her Eras Tour shows in Melbourne, Australia, during the surprise song section of the concert, she announced another bonus track, “The Bolter.” 

Normally this would be an immense source of excitement to fans; however, the bonus track comes on a separate version of the album than “The Manuscript” does. As soon as I heard the news, I was infuriated. Swift recently reached billionaire status, and she has no reason to be charging such absurd amounts of money to fans who only want to listen to her music.

I don’t know how many different versions of this album she’ll release, but I expect to be torn between bonus tracks that I’ve never even heard before, just wanting to listen to music from one of my favorite artists without extravagant expenses.

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About the Contributor
Ella Peirce, Copy Editor
Ella is a sophomore who is delighted to be returning to The Central Trend for a second year. Ella has been a competitive figure skater for as long as she can remember, and she also plays volleyball. Her other interests include hanging out with her friends, listening to music, rewatching her favorite sitcoms, reorganizing her Pinterest boards, and spending time with her pet bunny. She is endlessly excited for this year on staff and cannot wait to continue growing her love for writing. Favorite sitcom: Community Favorite stories to write: Columns and Reviews Current favorite rom-com: 500 Days of Summer

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