Taylor Swift Tries To Help Fellow Artists With New Universal Music Deal (#GotBitcoin)
Proviso covers how proceeds from any sale of record firm’s Spotify stake are to be distributed to performers. Taylor Swift Tries To Help Fellow Artists With New Universal Music Deal (#GotBitcoin)
Ms. Swift’s new deal came with a stipulation: Proceeds from any sale of Universal’s stockholdings in Spotify Technology SA are to be distributed to the label’s artists at a better rate than paid out previously by the other two majors.
Detailed terms weren’t disclosed.
This is the first label change for the 28-year-old pop star, who was signed when she was just 15 years old to Nashville-based Big Machine Records, an independent label distributed by Universal that released all six of her studio albums.
The Spotify agreement was a major sticking point for Ms. Swift, who had been courted by major labels and other companies as her deal with Big Machine expired earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. She also considered options such as distributing her own music, this person added.
“I see this is a sign that we are headed toward positive change for creators—a goal I’m never going to stop trying to help achieve, in whatever ways I can,” Ms. Swift wrote in an Instagram post Monday.
No. 2 label Sony Music Entertainment sold 50% of its Spotify shares in May and No. 3 Warner Music Group sold its entire stake in August. Universal hasn’t indicated it is nearing any sale of its Spotify shares and as recently as May Vivendi Chief Executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine said the company had no immediate plans to do so.
Universal’s Republic Records, which had been distributing Ms. Swift’s music in the U.S. under her previous deal with Big Machine, will continue to do so in the new contract.
Ms. Swift’s older recordings remain under the control of Big Machine, which will continue distributing them via Universal. Any music she records during her new multi-year, multi-album contract with Universal will remain her property, according to Ms. Swift. That is a perk reserved for only the biggest superstars; typical record contracts leave recordings, and the right to exploit them commercially, in the hands of the label.
The deal is Ms. Swift’s latest public use of her star power as leverage to advocate for artists in an industry whose economics have been upended by streaming.
In 2015 she wrote an open letter to Apple Inc., explaining she would hold back her album “1989” from its streaming service because the company wouldn’t compensate musicians and songwriters for the free three-month trial period offered to Apple Music customers. Apple quickly reversed course after Ms. Swift posted the letter online and said it would pay artists after all.
Ms. Swift, a 10-time Grammy winner, is the youngest person in history to win Album of the Year, and is the first female solo artist to win it twice. She is the only artist to have four consecutive albums sell more than one million copies in their first week of release.
Separately, Universal is among those with bids for Big Machine, which has been considering a sale for several years, according to a person familiar with the matter. Bids have reached as much as $300 million, according to another person.
As Taylor Swift Rerecorded Her ‘Red’ Album, Universal Reworked Contracts
The world’s largest music company has revamped record deals to block artists from rerecording their music.
Taylor Swift’s rerecorded songs are outperforming their original counterparts on streaming services, going viral on TikTok and landing lucrative licensing deals—all of which is wresting control and earnings from the owners of her early recorded music catalog.
On Friday, she released the latest batch of rerecordings, a new version of her 2012 hit album “Red.”
Ms. Swift’s success with the recordings over the past year highlights why her label company, Universal Music Group UMG 1.01%increase; green up pointing triangle
NV, has been trying to protect its rights with other artists who later might want to rerecord their songs.
In its recent agreements, Universal has been effectively doubling the amount of time that the contracts restrict an artist from rerecording their work, according to music attorneys and executives.
At a time when making—or remaking—and distributing music is easier and cheaper than ever, Universal, the world’s largest label company, is moving to protect its investments in artists’ work.
Recording nearly identical covers of her early albums is the latest step in Ms. Swift’s long legal tussle to control her back catalog and musical legacy.
Two years ago, she grew frustrated after attempting unsuccessfully to buy the master-recording copyrights as they changed hands twice against her wishes.
They ultimately landed with Los Angeles-based investment firm Shamrock Capital Advisors last year. Universal, which distributes Ms. Swift’s recordings, new and old, benefits from all of her music.
Both Ms. Swift’s ambitious project and Universal’s contract changes with its artists illustrate the shifting power dynamics in the music business, which has been upended by streaming. Meanwhile, the rocketing value of music copyrights has come into focus for both artists and investors.
The stricter rerecording parameters are part of a broader overhaul of Universal’s standard recording agreement in response to the changing industry, according to a person with knowledge of the contracts, who said the changes predate Ms. Swift’s rerecording endeavor.
While other artists have rerecorded their music to varying degrees of success, Ms. Swift’s public crusade to gain ownership of her life’s work has garnered broad support from fans and new listeners alike, and encouraged other artists to seek control over their music.
“What Taylor did is a game changer, not just for her fans, but for other artists. She is inspiring artists to rerecord their songs and control their music,” said Susan Genco, board member of artists’ rights group Music Artists Coalition and co-president of the Azoff Company.
“Taylor is leading by example: Showing fans and artists that it’s possible to take control of their future.”
Rerecording restrictions are typical in any record deal as a measure to prevent an artist from creating competitive copies of the music in which a label has invested.
Historically, a label takes ownership of recording copyrights, known as master recordings, in exchange for assuming the financial risk of betting on, distributing and promoting an artist’s work.
Prior to the rise of music consumption on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, music labels were less threatened by the prospect of rerecording because releasing music on a wide scale without the help of a label was far more difficult.
Now, the ease of digitally recording, distributing and promoting music has diminished labels’ gatekeeper status, which was prevalent when costly physical formats and radio were the keys to stardom.
Artists are also finding early success releasing music to YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and streaming services, often stoking bidding wars between labels who want to sign them.
Because more artists are coming to the table with such leverage—the ability to release music on their own and find an audience online—labels are having to make more concessions.
In these negotiations many artists, both new and old, are seeking ownership of their master recordings, which gives them more control over how their music is used and a greater split of the revenue it generates.
In a typical record deal, a label can take 80% of streaming revenue, with just 20% going to an artist. When artists own their masters, they keep around 80% to 95% of that revenue, music lawyers say.
Prior to Universal’s change, the industry’s standard rerecording restriction said an artist can’t rerecord until five years after the delivery of their last recording under the agreement, or two years from the end of the recording contract’s term, whichever is later.
Universal’s new proposals increase those periods to seven and five years, respectively, and tack on another “seven year post period” to the end of the rerecording restriction during which the artist is barred from rerecording more than two songs.
Lawyers and executives say that prevents an artist from creating competitive recordings during a typical recording’s biggest monetization period, usually within 10 years of its initial release.
Some of the other terms Universal has added to its contracts include increases in royalty payments to artists and more transparency into how royalties are calculated, said the person with knowledge of the contracts.
Often, Universal’s contract adjustments become industry standard because they are the biggest, lawyers and executives say.
Ms. Swift’s early recording catalog was initially owned by her first label, Big Machine. In 2018, she signed with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records, a deal in which any music she records—including the new versions of her old songs—remains her property, a perk historically reserved for the biggest superstars.
After unsuccessful attempts to buy her old recordings, she proceeded to rerecord her early catalog, and released a new version of her 2008 Grammy-winning album “Fearless” in April.
It made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and has been streamed three times as much as the original since its release, according to MRC Data, formerly Nielsen Music.
But streaming data also show that enthusiasm around new releases from Ms. Swift—including last year’s pandemic sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore,” the former of which won “Album of the Year” at the 2021 Grammy Awards—has benefited her entire catalog, including her old recordings owned by Shamrock.
Although “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is generating many more streams than the original album, streams of the original haven’t suffered, according to MRC Data.
That is in part because those songs are embedded in playlists made on streaming services and benefit from the rise of nostalgia listening, which took off during the pandemic.
“However many fans defected from old ‘Fearless’ to new, there appears to be just as many new listeners to old,” said Nathan Hubbard, former Ticketmaster chief executive officer and co-host of the Ringer’s “Every Single Album: Taylor Swift” series.
While streams account for the bulk of recorded-music income, licensing music to film, TV and advertisements provides a lucrative upside. Because Ms. Swift, as a songwriter, controls her publishing, she has steered licensees to her rerecorded songs, such as hit “Love Story,” which was used in a Match.com ad.
And when Ms. Swift spotted her 2014 hit single “Wildest Dreams” trending on TikTok, she rushed to put out her rerecord.
“Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” has been used in nearly 70,000 TikTok videos viewed over two billion times. The original has less than 7,000 videos.
“Make it Taylor’s Version pls,” Ms. Swift captioned a TikTok post featuring a clip of the new recording.
NYU Shakes It Off With Taylor Swift Class
A two-month course delved into vital questions about her songwriting, her feud with Kanye West and who has her scarf; ‘How does this exist?’.
Lydia Cohen was picking classes for her last semester at New York University when she saw it: an entire class about Taylor Swift.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I need to get into this class,’ ” said Ms. Cohen, a devoted fan of the musician who listens to her songs as soon as she wakes up. “How does this exist?”
For nearly two months, the 22-year-old media-culture-and-communication major joined 19 other NYU students for 2.5 hours every Wednesday night to study the superstar.
They discussed her impact on the music industry, her songwriting style, her feud with rapper Kanye West and whether Jake Gyllenhaal has her scarf.
Like Ms. Cohen, most of the students in the class are self-professed Swifties, the nickname for Ms. Swift’s biggest fans. So is the teacher, Brittany Spanos, a 29-year-old journalist who has written extensively about the artist as part of her job at Rolling Stone magazine.
Ms. Cohen and her classmates were shocked to learn one student hadn’t watched last year’s short film for the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” The group watched the film together, which depicts a romantic relationship that ends in heartbreak.
“We turned around at the end and she was crying,” Ms. Cohen said. “I was like, ‘you want tissues?’ ”
The class was the idea of Ms. Spanos, an NYU alum. She pitched a list of musical megastars she could focus on, including Britney Spears, Janet Jackson or Tina Turner. Ms. Swift was at the top, she said.
NYU said students, many of whom want careers in the music industry, were expected to develop their writing, critical thinking and research skills, but also learn about Ms. Swift’s creative process and her business sense.
“Taylor Swift is one of the leading creative music entrepreneurs of the 21st century,” said Jason King, chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, NYU’s music program. “I would love for them to walk away from the course with a deeper understanding of who Taylor Swift is and why she matters to the history and study of recorded music.”
Students listened to Ms. Swift’s genre-spanning albums, read articles or watched old interviews and performances. Every class started with a quiz.
“I know the class sounds ridiculous to a lot of people,” Ms. Spanos said. “But still, you know, it’s a college course.”
A 2,000-word paper was due at the end of the course. One student focused on the theory that the fifth track in each Taylor Swift album is the best song. Another wrote about how the 2017 album “Reputation” wasn’t about feuds, but about falling in love.
In class, they re-examined the time Mr. West, the rapper who recently changed his name to Ye, jumped on stage and interrupted Ms. Swift’s acceptance speech during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
They watched him apologize on talk shows for the incident, explaining he just wanted to help Beyoncé, who had lost an award for her “Single Ladies” music video.
The discussion shifted the perception of Emily Patt, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter, who said she was on Taylor’s side.
“I had a one-sided view on it,” said Ms. Patt, who remembers asking her mom to buy Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album at age 8. “Now I can sort of understand both sides of it a little bit better.”
Another lifelong Swiftie, Madelyn Paquette, discovered something new in class: She hadn’t known about the journal entries Ms. Swift included in special editions of “Lover,” the 2019 album.
“There were pages wondering if she could do this, wondering if she was good enough,” said Ms. Paquette, 22, a singer-songwriter who is graduating in May. “I identify with that. Everyone I know pursuing a music career identifies with that.”
The class, an elective, was open to any undergraduate student at NYU. Students received two credits for the class, which was held in Brooklyn at the Clive Davis Institute’s building, where students train to be songwriters, music engineers and record label bosses.
The class was the first at NYU devoted to Ms. Swift—though similar ones have been offered on Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Nirvana.
Taylor Swift was invited to the class through her team, but she didn’t come. A publicist for Ms. Swift didn’t respond to a request for comment.
One of the world’s bestselling singer-songwriters, Ms. Swift has used her clout to publicly push music streaming services to pay artists more.
When ownership of her songs landed in someone else’s hands, she found a loophole and started rerecording her older albums, labeling them “Taylor’s Version,” ensuring revenue from those streams go to her.
The unprecedented move caused a flurry of new standards from her label Universal Music Group NV to make sure other artists didn’t follow suit.
Ms. Swift has also cultivated a close relationship with her fans. She invited some to her home in 2014, feeding them cookies while they listened to “1989” ahead of that album’s release.
She leaves secret messages in music videos and lyrics, with fans spending hours deciphering every lyric, video, tweet, outfit and photo for clues about what the next single or album will be.
“I loved coming into class and they’re like, ‘Did you see this thing, this new rumor?’ ” said Ms. Spanos.
The class explored the mystery surrounding many of Ms. Swift’s songs and who they are about–details the singer-songwriter, like others before her, doesn’t divulge.
“We spent a lot of time talking about ‘You’re So Vain’ by Carly Simon and this multidecade intrigue on who the song is about and how it plays into this continued interest in the song,” said Ms. Spanos.
They also discussed Ms. Swift’s “All Too Well,” a song about a lover who keeps his ex’s scarf. Rumors that the man is Mr. Gyllenhaal, the actor who briefly dated Ms. Swift, resurfaced recently with the rerelease of the song. A representative for Mr. Gyllenhaal didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The last class was held last Wednesday. NYU might bring it back in the future, with Ms. Spanos, but no timing has been set yet.
Ms. Spanos blasted “All Too Well” on the final day and they all sang together.
“I walked through the door with you,” the group sang. “The air was cold, but something about it felt like home.”
Taylor Swift Releases New Track for Film ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’
Taylor Swift has released a new single titled Carolina, which she “wrote alone in the middle of the night”, for upcoming film Where the Crawdads Sing.
The track, released at midnight on Friday, reportedly plays over the end credits of the film adaptation of the book by Delia Owens.
Swift, 32, shared a video of clips from the film to Instagram, accompanied by the caption: “About a year and half ago I wrote a song about an incredible story, the story of a girl who always lived on the outside, looking in.
“Figuratively and literally. The juxtaposition of her loneliness and independence. Her longing and her stillness. Her curiosity and fear, all tangled up.”
“Her persisting gentleness… and the world’s betrayal of it.”
“I wrote this one alone in the middle of the night and then @aarondessner and I meticulously worked on a sound that we felt would be authentic to the moment in time when this story takes place.
“I made a wish that one day you would hear it. ‘Carolina’ is out now.”
The 11-time Grammy award-winner previously said she “got absolutely lost” in the book when she read it and had wanted to be part of the musical side of the production.
The film, produced by Reese Witherspoon, follows the story of Kya, a young girl who lives alone in the marshes of North Carolina and becomes enveloped in a local murder mystery.
Kya is played by English actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, who gained recognition for her role in the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People.
The release of Carolina comes amid Swift’s work to re-record her first six albums after the master recordings were acquired by talent manager Scooter Braun.
By creating new versions of the songs, the star can regain ownership of the music.
She most recently released a re-record of This Love from her 2014 album 1989.
The song’s release hints towards 1989 being the next album Swift plans to re-release in full.
Where the Crawdads Sing is set to be released in the UK on July 22.
Taylor Swift Says She Couldn’t Plagiarize A Song She Never Heard
Taylor Swift says she couldn’t have ripped off the lyrics to her hit “Shake It Off” from a song she’d never heard before.
Swift defended herself as the sole songwriter of the 2014 song in a sworn declaration filed Monday, saying “the lyrics to Shake It Off were written entirely by me.” It’s the latest response to a copyright infringement suit two songwriters from the band 3LW filed against Swift in 2017.
The Swift lyric in question is the line “players gonna play,” which 3LW songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler claim is too similar to the group’s hit song, “Playas Gon’ Play.”
That song reached No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001, a year when Swift turned 12 years old. In the filing, Swift said her parents did not permit her to watch the “TRL” countdown show on MTV until she was “about 13 years old,” implying she would not have heard the track during its chart run.
“None of the CDs I listened to as a child, or after that, were by 3LW. I have never heard the song Playas Gon’ Play on the radio, on television, or in any film,” Swift said in the filing. “The first time I ever heard the song was after this claim was made.”
Swift also cited the common use of the phrase in question, saying, “Prior to writing Shake It Off I had heard the phrases ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ uttered countless times to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity.”
The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in 2018, but was resurrected in 2021 by an appeal panel.
Taylor Swift’s New ‘Midnights’ Album Is About ‘13 Sleepless Nights Throughout My Life’
Singer-songwriter announced new album at midnight after teasing fans about new music at MTV Video Music Awards.
Taylor Swift is releasing a new album in October called “Midnights,” which she said will be about “13 sleepless nights throughout my life.”
Ms. Swift announced the album at midnight Monday on her website and social-media accounts, after teasing fans about new music during an acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards late Sunday.
“This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams,” a post on Ms. Swift’s Instagram account said. “The floors we pace and the demons we face.”
The cover shows Ms. Swift burning the midnight oil, or at least a lighter.
Fans stayed up past midnight trying to find clues about the album on social media. Ms. Swift often leaves secret messages in photos, music videos and lyrics.
One thing was clear: Ms. Swift is playing up the number 13, which she has said in the past is her lucky number. The album will have 13 songs, and fans pointed out that the Oct. 21 release date adds up to 13. (10+2+1=13.)
Ms. Swift told MTV News in 2009 that she performed with the number painted on her palm to give her luck. Ms. Swift was born on Dec. 13, 1989, and her Twitter handle, @taylorswift13, includes the number.
A representative for Ms. Swift didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
“Midnights” will be Ms. Swift’s 10th studio album. The singer-songwriter released two surprise albums in 2020—“Folklore” and “Evermore” – both written while in quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Folklore” won a Grammy for Album of the Year.
Last year she released rerecordings of two past albums, “Fearless” and “Red.” Ms. Swift has been rerecording older albums after ownership of her songs landed in someone else’s hands.
Ms. Swift labels them “Taylor’s Version,” ensuring revenue from those streams go to her. Her record label Universal Music Group NV has since created new standards to make sure other artists didn’t follow suit.
Her songwriting skills and business sense inspired New York University to devote a class all about her earlier this year. Another class is in session at the University of Texas at Austin, where students will study Ms. Swift’s songs alongside the works of William Shakespeare and Robert Frost.
In May, NYU handed Ms. Swift an honorary doctoral degree in fine arts, calling her “one of the most prolific and celebrated artists of her generation.”
She said in her commencement speech that her mistakes led to the best things in her life. “Getting back up, dusting yourself off, and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterward and laugh about it—that’s a gift,” she said.
On Monday, Ms. Swift was selling preorders for “Midnights” in several formats, including digital, vinyl, CD and cassette. “Meet me at midnight,” Ms. Swift wrote on her Instagram post.
Taylor Swift Has So Much New Music. How Will She Ever Perform It All?
With her new album ‘Midnights,’ the pop superstar has four whole records she has never performed live, creating an unusual concert challenge. ‘She’s in a complete logistical nightmare’.
Most music stars have one new album out when they embark on a tour. Then there’s Taylor Swift.
Ms. Swift’s latest work, “Midnights,” a synth-driven pop album which was released Friday, brings the singer-songwriter to four entire records she has never performed on tour.
“Midnights” arrives roughly two years after her intimate quarantine albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” Those albums came not long after the wide-ranging “Lover,” which was supposed to have a mini-tour that was canceled due to the pandemic.
Ms. Swift also recently released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version),” rerecorded versions of two older albums, which each include a dizzying number of bonus tracks that originate from earlier eras.
Writing a set list for a live tour is always an art: Music stars want to sound invigorated and fresh, but also comprehensive, embracing both longtime fans and newer ones.
But the pileup of unperformed music has Ms. Swift’s fans wondering whether her show should be longer, or structured differently than the typical tour.
“Logistically, what do you do?” asked Matthew Perpetua, founder of Fluxblog, an independent music website. “She’s in a complete logistical nightmare, that’s brought on by the most positive things—people liking her records so much, and being prolific, and all of her records being hits.”
The Weeknd, the R&B-pop singer, combined songs from 2020’s “After Hours” and 2022’s “Dawn FM” on his latest tour. But his recent output isn’t nearly as prodigious as Ms. Swift’s.
Also, unlike most stars, Ms. Swift doesn’t play just a few tracks from her latest album on tour. She’s known for playing nearly all of her new album.
Ms. Swift has yet to officially announce a tour. But when she does, she’s likely to encounter an unsettled concert business: Music’s biggest artists are selling out shows, yet smaller ones are increasingly canceling events due to a glut of concerts, higher touring costs, equipment shortages, lower ticket sales and currency fluctuations.
Covid infections continue to derail tours. Fears of a recession could crimp ticket and concession sales, and there’s growing consternation about concert-ticket prices.
Ms. Swift is unlikely to be impacted by such trends, since she’s the rare pop musician who lacks much direct competition. But concerns about a crowded 2023 calendar and weaker spending could prompt her to put her tickets on sale sooner.
What makes planning the next tour especially tricky is that Ms. Swift’s “Folklore” was considered a career milestone. Its hushed, indie-folk-flavored sound was a musical departure that won Ms. Swift new fans, critics’ respect and a Grammy award for album of the year.
Many fans are eager to hear it and its sister album “Evermore” live, even if these albums’ rustic aesthetic is considered more suited to smaller venues.
“This is so unique,” said Lacey Davner, a 34-year-old fan from Florida who started listening to Ms. Swift in 2006. “It would be weird, especially for her, to not have the three [other albums] incorporated somehow in this tour. I mean, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ brought a lot of people either to her, or back to her music.”
“The most fascinating question—in some ways, more than what ‘Midnights’ is going to sound like—is just how does she figure out how to pull all of this stuff together,” said Nora Princiotti, co-host of The Ringer’s “Every Single Album: Taylor Swift” on a recent podcast.
Some of Ms. Swift’s followers have posted humorous pictures of long lists of song titles online. Willow Raven, 33, once sang in a Taylor Swift cover band—so you’d think she’d be able to write a set list for the pop superstar’s next tour.
This time, even she is stumped. “There are so many possibilities,” Ms. Raven said. “I just can’t wrap my head around it.”
The last time Ms. Swift toured, for 2017’s “Reputation,” she played nearly the entirety of the album, along with other songs. A typical Taylor Swift concert might include roughly 20 songs, some of them medleys.
But Mr. Perpetua speculated that Ms. Swift might this time focus mostly on her recent four albums and downplay her early-career material.
That’s what the rock band R.E.M. did in 1995, when they performed following a touring hiatus during which they released multiple records that were more somber and acoustic in nature.
Like Ms. Swift, R.E.M. took advantage of a touring hiatus by changing their sound in ways that might not work well in big venues. “But paradoxically, you end up with all of these songs that people love and want to see,” Mr. Perpetua said.
“Lover,” from 2019, is another album to consider; it includes fan favorites such as “Cruel Summer.” “I would die if I never heard that song live,” Ms. Raven said.
Similarly, the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” released as part of the rerecording of “Red,” has become one of Ms. Swift’s signature songs. “People would, like, riot if she didn’t do that,” Mr. Perpetua said.
Then there’s the issue of the structure of the tour. The most likely scenario is that Ms. Swift sticks with the traditional stadium format. But could she do a combination of stadium shows and some smaller, more intimate gigs befitting the “Folklore” material?
For “Lover,” Ms. Swift had planned a handful of “Lover Fest” shows in the U.S. The unexpected move, which never came to fruition, signaled a desire, at least at the time, for less touring than her past extended globe-trotting runs.
In theory, Ms. Swift could pursue a somewhat similar plan for “Midnights” by launching a traveling residency (like Harry Styles with his 15 shows at Madison Square Garden) or even her own festival, music fans and analysts said.
Another possibility: Ms. Swift’s shows could become more freewheeling and less choreographed. The fact that Ms. Swift has been rerecording so many albums means she is unusually prepared to play a large proportion of her repertoire.
That could inspire her to deliver more unpredictable shows where she varies up her set list, sort of like a jam band, Mr. Perpetua said.
On Friday, Ms. Swift’s fans eagerly listened to “Midnights,” which features production by Jack Antonoff, a guest appearance by Lana Del Rey and the lead single “Anti-Hero,” which Ms. Swift has called “one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.”
The 13-track album has a nocturnal feel, with insistent, pulsating beats and self-interrogating lyrics. At 3 a.m. on Friday, Ms. Swift surprised fans by releasing seven bonus “3am tracks,” as she called them.
For now, though, her fans remain in the dark about what her first tour in five long years will look like. “That seems to be the consensus amongst all of us,” Ms. Davner said. “What’s she going to do—how is she gonna do this?”
Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ Has Already Sold a Million Copies. And Her Opening Week Isn’t Even Over Yet
Fans are snatching up vinyl records, helping to give the pop star what could be her biggest first-week numbers ever.
Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” is having a monster opening week—one that could prove to be the largest of her entire career.
The pop star’s new album, which came out Friday, has moved over 1.2 million units in the U.S. in its first three days of release, according to initial numbers from Luminate, the data tracker behind the Billboard music charts.
The album’s final tally is expected to be even higher, since Luminate’s tracking week goes through this Thursday, Oct. 27. On Sunday, “Midnights” is all but certain to top the latest Billboard album chart with the biggest sales week of the year.
Music stars these days don’t sell albums in the millions like they used to, since many listeners have transitioned away from traditional purchases toward streaming services.
Some blockbuster names like Adele and Beyoncé still ring up big sales, but even their numbers have eased in the streaming age. What’s unusual about Taylor Swift is that she is selling more opening-week copies than in the past.
“Midnights” is already the first album in five years to move more than a million units in its opening week. The last was Ms. Swift’s own 2017 album “Reputation,” whose 1.24 million in first-week sales will likely now be surpassed if it hasn’t been already.
Some are projecting that “Midnights” will sell 1.4 to 1.6 million copies, which means it could even beat 2014’s “1989”—considered the zenith of Ms. Swift’s turn from country to pop—which racked up 1.29 million units in its first week.
Ms. Swift’s commercial clout is fueled by a combination of streaming and traditional sales.
“Midnights” is a blockbuster on Spotify, Apple Music and other services. In its first three days, the album generated over 284 million on-demand U.S. audio and video streams, according to Luminate.
On Oct. 21, its release day, “Midnights” became Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day. On Tuesday, songs from “Midnights” dominated the service’s U.S. Top 50, occupying 18 of the top 20 slots.
The album’s original version has 13 songs. But three hours after its release, Ms. Swift unveiled a deluxe version with seven additional songs. Its larger song count helps enhance its performance on streaming.
Then there’s the punch packed by her traditional sales. More than 955,000 of her total “equivalent-album units” so far—an industry measure that includes streaming plus sales of an album as a full package—are traditional copies like digital downloads, vinyl records, CDs and cassettes, according to Luminate.
Traditional sales are weighted more heavily in the music industry’s sales math and by extension the Billboard charts. It takes 10 individual-track sales, 1,250 on-demand audio and video streams, or 3,750 ad-supported streams to equal just one album sale.
Ms. Swift made a concerted effort to push physical copies of her album, as she has in the past—a strategy made more popular by the dizzying number of CD editions sold by K-pop groups in recent years.
Like adding more songs to an album, the strategy effectively boosts an artist’s positioning on the Billboard charts given the weight given to traditional sales.
Ms. Swift’s physical sales are surprisingly strong, even for people in the music industry. Nearly 500,000 of her first-week units are vinyl records, which is the biggest week for vinyl sales in Luminate’s data going back to 1991.
(The previous record-holder was Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House,” from earlier this year, which made its debut with 182,000 vinyl sales.)
“Midnights” comes in four different vinyl editions with varying covers and LP colors. The four variants line up to form what resembles a clock. (She is also selling a $49 vinyl clock mechanism.)
Then there are four CD editions with different covers; a cassette; an exclusive Target CD with bonus material; signed copies of various CDs and vinyl records; and a deluxe boxed set.
Unlike her past two studio albums, 2020’s “Folklore” and “Evermore,” “Midnights” wasn’t a surprise release. There was a relatively traditional rollout, which meant that its arrival on streaming services and on vinyl was coordinated.
That is helping her opening-week numbers compared with past releases.
As Ms. Swift’s fans buy and stream “Midnights,” many are hoping for a special edge when buying tickets for Ms. Swift’s next tour. On Monday, when asked about touring during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Ms. Swift said: “I think I should do it.”
Tennessee, North Carolina AGs Investigating Taylor Swift Ticket Presale
Soon after tickets went on sale, would-be customers began complaining of long waits, technical problems and poor customer service.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is investigating consumer complaints about chaos during the presale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s concert tour.
Skrmetti said in a press conference on Wednesday that antitrust violations “could be an issue” regarding Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment Inc.
The two control more than 70% of the primary ticketing and live event venues market, according to consumer groups, and Skrmetti said he’s concerned a lack of competition has led to a poor experience and higher prices for consumers. So far, Ticketmaster and Live Nation have not been accused of misconduct.
On Thursday, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein tweeted that he, too, is investigating Ticketmaster for “allegedly violating consumers’ rights and antitrust laws.”
BREAKING: You’re NOT on your own, kid.
— NC Attorney General (@NCAGO) November 17, 2022
Since Swift announced “The Eras Tour,” there’s been a rush to land a ticket to one of her shows. Fans were asked to register on the Ticketmaster website for the chance to nab a presale code, and many received only a waitlist notification instead.
Soon after the presale window opened, the Ticketmaster website crashed on Tuesday under what it said was “unprecedented demand.” West Coast sales were delayed from 10 a.m. local time to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
“As an industry player, you would think Ticketmaster would be prepared,” Skrmetti said about the volume of customer interest. “Because they have a dominant position, they may have thought they didn’t need to worry about that. This could be an indicator that there’s not enough competition in the market.”
On Thursday, Ticketmaster released a statement that said, overall, 15% of interactions across the site experienced issues during the presale. The company attributed the disruptions to bot attacks and unprecedented demand.
Despite the problems, Taylor Swift sold 2 million tickets, setting a record tickets sold by a single artist in one day, Ticketmaster said.
“The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world — that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and clearly for Taylor’s on sale it wasn’t,” the statement said. “While it’s impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Then, a few hours later, Ticketmaster announced that general public sales, scheduled for Friday, were canceled.
Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled.
— Ticketmaster (@Ticketmaster) November 17, 2022
Complaints about the sales snafus prompted Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to tweet that the 2010 merger between Ticketmaster, a leader in ticket sales, and Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the largest concert promoter, shouldn’t have been permitted.
Representative David Cicilline said in a tweet that Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees as seen Tuesday “are a symptom of a larger problem.”
Skrmetti didn’t provide the exact number of complaints he received, but said several pointed to the “severe lack of customer support,” adding that some customers said Ticketmaster told them to wait five days before they would get a response.
He also questioned whether Ticketmaster delivered on its promises to fans who registered, particularly when it came to providing presale codes.
It isn’t the first time Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been accused of monopoly behavior. Last month, a consumer advocacy campaign called on the US government to unwind their 2010 deal. A series of class-action lawsuits alleging a ticket monopoly have failed.
In December 2019, a settlement with the US Department of Justice extended the agreement that first cleared the merger— with terms aimed at protecting competition — to 2025.
For Nashville — the city where Swift launched her career — the situation is personal. “We’re a music city in Nashville,” Skrmetti said.
Welcome To ‘Swiftonomics’: What Taylor Swift Reveals About the US Economy
Swifties represent an extreme version of the turbocharged consumers willing to splurge on everything they missed during the pandemic.
Skyrocketing demand, limited supply, price gouging and monopoly accusations. And a customer willing to pay almost anything.
Welcome to Swiftonomics.
Taylor Swift’s upcoming US tour of 52 concerts has all the ingredients of a post-Covid demand shock. Some resellers reportedly asked $40,000 or more for concert tickets following last week’s run on official sales, which left millions empty-handed and ready to pay whatever it takes to score a seat.
Swifties, as the popstar’s fans are known, aren’t necessarily your average American, but they capture the current moment in the post-Covid economy. Even as recession looms, many consumers are willing to splurge on what they missed at the height of the pandemic — whether it’s travel or live entertainment.
Swift’s fans represent an extreme version of that turbocharged consumer: millions of mostly Millennials and Gen Zs who waited at least four years to see the superstar live again and emerged from the pandemic with historically high rates of savings.
“Concerts are seen as an affordable luxury in times of crisis,” said Lisa Yang, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst who publishes the bank’s annual “Music in the Air” report on the global industry.
Right now, Swift’s “The Eras Tour” tickets are available only on the secondary market and they’re anything but cheap. About 2.4 million were sold last week before Ticketmaster suspended the official pre-sale. The ticketing company’s site crashed under the pressure of some 14 million people trying to get seats.
Among them was Melissa Kearney, an economics professor at the University of Maryland who is now experiencing first-hand the basic laws of supply and demand. The mother of two Swifties, ages 12 and 15, said she’s looking at secondary-market prices after failing to score tickets.
“There’s nothing more than this that they want in the world,” said Kearney, who directs the Aspen Economic Strategy Group. “The pandemic in general changed the way people think about what’s really important to them, and what brings them joy.”
Gustavo Coutinho, who’s never seen Swift play live, came up with a $2,000 budget after 10 months of savings. The 25-year-old consultant in Boston ended up spending about $1,500 to attend two concerts. “I would pay $3,000 if I had to,” he said.
In the early 2000s, the late economist Alan Krueger came up with the concept of “Rockonomics” to explain the economy through the lens of the music industry. Krueger often used Swift, who released her debut album in 2006 at the age of 16, as an example of someone who played with strategies that boosted concert and product sales, calling her “an economic genius.”
His pupils agree. “She’s almost becoming a whole category,” said Carolyn Sloane, who teaches a “Rockonomics” class at the University of California at Riverside.
“People don’t really see a great substitute for going to a Taylor Swift show. They really want to see her live, and I say that as a fan myself.”
Other artists, including Bruce Springsteen, have proved fans are ready to pay sky-high prices for mega post-Covid live events — recession be damned.
Meanwhile, Swiftonomics is a crash course on another concept: monopoly. Politicians and attorneys general seized on the moment to renew their criticism of Ticketmaster, a dominant player in the live-music industry.
Even before last week, Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment Inc. were at the center of an antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice over whether the platform is abusing its power, according to people familiar with the probe.
Live Nation said Ticketmaster is a leader because of the quality of its platform, not any anticompetitive business practices. And Ticketmaster apologized to Swift fans, saying it would work on its system going forward. Swift herself said it was “excruciating” to watch mistakes happen.
Ultimately, the singer is the mastermind behind the supply. She has chosen to play at high-capacity stadiums, and has added new concerts. Still, there’s frenzy around her tours.
“Very often you have the sense that scarcity increases demand,” said Pascal Courty, an economist at the University of Victoria in Canada who researches resale markets for tickets.
One of the biggest questions in the broader economy is whether consumers will continue to spend as interest rates and joblessness increase.
Swiftonomics probably won’t help answer. It’s its own economic microcosm, and fans just shake it off.
“I hesitate to read too much into people’s willingness to pay exorbitant amounts for Taylor Swift tickets in terms of what that says about the health of the US economy,” said Kearney, the Swiftie-parent economist. “I’m more inclined to read into it that for the die-hard Taylor Swift fans — of which there are many — the demand for tickets is nearly inelastic.”
Taylor Swift Concert-Ticket Mess Draws Scrutiny For Live Nation and Ticketmaster
Legal experts question whether unwinding the 2010 megamerger would address problems raised by lawmakers and fans.
Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift tour fiasco last week renewed calls to investigate the 12-year-old merger that joined the world’s largest live event promoter with the dominant ticketing company.
But some legal experts are skeptical that dismantling the behemoth would address the problems raised by officials and fans.
Lawmakers and attorneys general have lined up to hold Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its Ticketmaster unit accountable for a botched ticket-sale process for Ms. Swift’s first concert tour in five years, blaming the website’s failure and high fees on a lack of competition.
This week Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), and Ed Markey (D., Mass.) urged the Justice Department to consider actions including the breakup of Ticketmaster and Live Nation if misconduct is found.
“This may be the only way to truly protect consumers, artists, and venue operators and to restore competition in the ticketing market,” they wrote in a letter.
The Justice Department is investigating Live Nation over whether the company has violated antitrust laws, a probe that predates the glitches during Ms. Swift’s recent ticket sales, according to people familiar with the matter.
Live Nation said it believes there are many industry changes that would make the ticketing experience better for fans and artists, and that it looks forward to working with policy makers.
The company has said it didn’t engage in behavior that warranted litigation or an order to change its business practices.
Ms. Klobuchar said the Senate antitrust panel she leads will hold a hearing on competition in the ticketing industry. She said she wants to know how consolidation in live events has harmed customers and artists. The committee said it would later announce a date for the hearing.
Ms. Klobuchar and other politicians said a lack of competition has discouraged Ticketmaster from innovating and making the customer experience better. Breaking up the companies, some government officials and industry veterans said, would force competition on prices and product.
Ticketmaster has invested $900 million in digital infrastructure over the past five years, a Live Nation spokeswoman said.
Some legal experts said they doubt unwinding the merger would serve as an effective solution.
“Ticketmaster would still likely retain substantial market share in the primary ticketing marketplace,” says former Justice Department prosecutor Philip A. Giordano, who served on the Justice Department team that reviewed the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger in 2010 and now heads the antitrust practice at law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
Live Nation promotes live events including concert tours and festivals, owns and operates some venues, and has an artist-management division. Ticketmaster sells tickets to live events including concerts and sports on behalf of venues. They sometimes will be employed to work on the same events but not always.
Typically, the artist and the promoter set the prices and choose the venues a tour will go through, but they aren’t able to decide who sells tickets to the shows. Rather, venues have exclusive ticketing contracts with companies like Ticketmaster, which pioneered such agreements decades ago and holds the most.
When a major touring act of Ms. Swift’s stature hits the road—even with a competing promoter—she mainly plays stadiums whose ticketing inventory Ticketmaster controls.
Both the ticketing company and the venue set and collect fees on top of the ticket price set by the promoter.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster were allowed to combine in 2010, but under an agreement with the Justice Department, known as a consent decree, that included conditions intended to help preserve competition in the live-events industry.
The consent decree was originally set to expire in 2020 but was extended to 2025 after a 2019 settlement to resolve an investigation into five incidents of potential misconduct.
At the time Live Nation said it was compliant with the consent decree, which bars the company from requiring venues to use Ticketmaster, and from retaliating when venues use a ticketing competitor instead.
Provisions of the extended agreement make it easier for the government to investigate and punish Live Nation for violations, the Justice Department said at the time.
There continues to be no evidence of any systemic violations of the consent decree, a Live Nation spokeswoman said.
Presales for Ms. Swift’s Eras Tour were hampered by glitches in Ticketmaster’s systems that kept fans waiting for hours in virtual queues before turning up empty-handed or finding tickets at prices that had skyrocketed.
Ticketmaster has pointed to historically unprecedented demand for the tickets and said it is working to improve its technology. Ms. Swift sold more than two million tickets on Ticketmaster in one day, a company record, it said.
Mr. Giordano said any effort to break up the company would face substantial hurdles, including unwinding more than a decade of integration between Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
He said the Justice Department would face an uphill battle in court since Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s businesses serve complementary rather than duplicative functions.
That issue is even more of a legal obstacle in light of the Justice Department’s failed attempt to block the 2018 vertical tie-up between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc., Mr. Giordano said.
He also noted that U.S. antitrust laws don’t prohibit a monopoly in and of itself, or the use of monopoly power to raise prices—they prohibit abuse of monopoly power through exclusionary conduct. Ms. Swift’s tour is being promoted by a joint venture with Live Nation competitor AEG Presents.
“So the Justice Department may not have much of a legal basis for prosecuting the kinds of problems that led to the Taylor Swift meltdown,” Mr. Giordano said.
Some live-music executives said Live Nation doesn’t have to explicitly threaten venues into using Ticketmaster—the company’s market power is such that it is implied. Venues rely heavily on Live Nation shows coming through their buildings to stay in business, these executives say.
“If Ticketmaster had to compete for ticketing at venues maybe they would start to cut some of those fees,” said Peter Cohan, management professor at Babson College and co-author of the 2010 case “Chokehold on Live Entertainment,” which discussed the monopoly the merger would create.
“There is a need for more competition,” he said. “I don’t know if breaking them up would be the way to do it.”
Taylor Swift To Direct Her First Feature-Length Film With Searchlight Pictures
Taylor Swift is to direct her first feature-length film with US production company Searchlight Pictures.
The pop megastar, 32, has written an original script which will be produced by the studio, which has been behind Oscar-winning films such as Nomadland and The Shape Of Water.
Swift has previously tried her hand at directing her own music videos including the multi-award-winning All Too Well: The Short Film.
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink and Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien starred in the nearly 15-minute video, which was also written by Swift.
The singer-songwriter went on to take home the coveted best video, best longform video and best direction gongs at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards for the music video.
This achievement helped her make history as the only solo artist ever to be honoured with two best direction awards following her win at the 2020 award show for the music video of her song The Man.
All Too Well: The Short Film also won best video and best longform video at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) last month.
Searchlight presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield said: “Taylor is a once-in-a-generation artist and storyteller.
“It is a genuine joy and privilege to collaborate with her as she embarks on this exciting and new creative journey.”
Additional details about the film project will be announced in due course.
Swift is an 11-time Grammy winner and the only female artist in Grammy history to win the coveted album of the year award three times.
She recently earned another Grammy nomination for song of the year for the 10-minute version of All Too Well.
Taylor Swift Boosts Universal Music’s Sales to $3.1 Billion
* Universal Music Group’s Sales Rose 17% In The Fourth Quarter
* Swift’s “Midnights” Album Sold Over 6 Million In Eight Weeks
Universal Music Group NV’s sales beat estimates in the fourth quarter, boosted in part by singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s recent album.
The world’s largest music company’s sales rose 17% from a year earlier to €2.94 billion ($3.1 billion), the Netherlands-based company said on Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected sales of €2.88 billion.
Universal Music, which signed a multi-year deal with Swift in 2018, said in December her album Midnights sold over 6 million units worldwide in the first eight weeks of its release.
Besides Swift, other top sellers for the fourth quarter included The Beatles, Drake, Seventeen and Lil Baby.
The company’s music publishing revenue jumped 30% to €530 million and recorded music sales grew 13% to €2.24 billion. Universal Music reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of €529 million, falling short of the average analyst estimates of €571 million. Revenue rose 22% to €10.3 billion in 2022.
The Vivendi SE spinoff, which went public in Amsterdam in 2021, has been vocal about the need for an updated streaming model that supports all artists. It recently partnered with music and entertainment platform TIDAL to explore a new economic model for music streaming.
While Rising To Pop Stardom, Taylor Swift Built A Real-Estate Empire Worth North of $150 Million
The singer-songwriter has bought homes in quiet coastal locales and cities like New York and Beverly Hills.
Taylor Swift got her start in the music industry at the tender age of 16, with the release of her eponymous country album in 2006.
In the years since, the 12-time Grammy winner has transformed herself into a pop superstar and built her brand into a global powerhouse, selling more than two million tickets for her upcoming “Eras Tour” in a single day and announcing plans to direct an upcoming feature film.
Along the way, she has become a savvy businesswoman who has often used her clout to shake up the music industry. Most recently, her decision to rerecord her older albums, ensuring that revenue from those streams go to her, caused a flurry of new standards from her label Universal Music Group NV to make sure other artists didn’t follow suit.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that, in the process of becoming a music-industry juggernaut, Ms. Swift has also amassed an empire in the real-estate world.
Despite her relative youth, the 33-year-old has assembled a portfolio of homes worth at least $150 million. With a penchant for historic houses, Ms. Swift—using a variety of trusts and limited liability companies—has acquired significant properties in locations ranging from Nashville, Tenn., to Beverly Hills and Rhode Island.
Since most of these properties were purchased years before the Covid-induced real-estate frenzy, their value has risen dramatically in the time they’ve been owned by the country-singer-turned-pop star.
While Ms. Swift tends to hold her properties for the long term, she has also sold a few homes along the way, often for a substantial profit.
For several years, Ms. Swift has been dating the English actor Joe Alwyn, who grew up in north London, and the pair have been photographed in the area. (In her song “London Boy,” she mentions visiting London locales such as Camden Market and Highgate.)
Ms. Swift has rented in north London, including a house in Highgate at one point, according to London real-estate agent Trevor Abrahmsohn of Glentree International.
She was also recently looking to purchase a house in the Hampstead area, according to a person with knowledge of her activities, but it is unknown whether she did.
Many expats prefer to rent rather than buy in England, Mr. Abrahmsohn said, because of stamp duties, or transaction taxes, which can be as much as 17 percent for international buyers.
Here’s A Closer Look At Her Homes Around The U.S.
Paid $2.377 Million For A Spread At The Adelicia Condominium In 2009.
Current Estimated Value: $4 Million To $6 Million
Paid $2.5 Million For The Northumberland Estate In 2011
Current Estimated Value: $8 Million
As a teenager, Ms. Swift moved with her family from Pennsylvania to the Nashville area to pursue a career in country music. In 2009, after the success of her album “Fearless,” the 19-year-old made her first significant real-estate purchase, paying $1.99 million through a trust for a roughly 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouse at the Adelicia condominium near the famed Music Row, property records show.
Later that year, she bought a roughly 1,000-square-foot, one-bedroom unit on the floor below for $387,000 through a trust, according to property records.
Ms. Swift’s colorfully decorated home, with a kitchen backsplash in the shape of a giant heart, appears in the 2020 documentary “Miss Americana.”
The Adelicia “was one of the first really, really nice, luxury condo buildings in Nashville,” said real-estate agent Lacey Newman, who is listing another penthouse in the building for $2.995 million.
The Adelicia penthouses have their own private garage, she said, allowing their owners a VIP entrance of sorts. “It’s very desirable for people who want privacy and discretion,” she said.
Another feature of the building’s penthouses, she said, are views of the city. Plus, she said, the building is close to restaurants, bars and the city’s recording studios. “It would appeal to musicians and artists because of its proximity to Music Row,” she said.
Ms. Swift, Ms. Newman said, hasn’t approached her about potentially buying the unit she is listing. “I wish she would!”
Ms. Swift’s holdings in the Adelicia would likely sell for $4 million to $6 million today, local real-estate agents estimated.
But that’s only part of Ms. Swift’s Nashville real-estate portfolio. In 2011, she paid $2.5 million through a trust for a roughly 7,700-square-foot home on about 6 acres known as the Northumberland Estate, according to public records.
Built around 1934 as part of a large horse farm, the Greek Revival home is in an exclusive area known as Forest Hills, according to Steve Fridrich of Fridrich & Clark Realty.
The property was once owned by Guilford Dudley Jr., a onetime U.S. ambassador to Denmark, equestrian and “old Nashville name,” Mr. Fridrich said. If the home were to sell now, it would likely fetch somewhere around $8 million, he estimated.
In a video posted to her YouTube channel, Ms. Swift identified the Northumberland Estate as the home of her mother, Andrea Swift.
Hyannis Port, Cape Cod, Mass.
Paid $4.8 Million For A Seven-Bedroom House In 2012
Sold For $5.675 Million In 2013
When it comes to beach homes, Ms. Swift has shied away from typical celebrity hotspots like the Hamptons and Malibu, gravitating instead to quaint New England coastal locations.
In the summer of 2012, the singer went into contract on a circa-1920s beachfront home in the seaside village of Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, said Robert B. Kinlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Robert Paul Properties, who had the listing.
“It was well-maintained and very charming,” said Mr. Kinlin. The house had been on the market for some time before Ms. Swift bought it, at one time priced at $13.5 million, according to Zillow.
At the time, she was dating Conor Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson, who summered at the famed Kennedy compound nearby, according to the book “The Kennedy Heirs” by J. Randy Taraborrelli. The couple broke up in September 2012, according to the book.
Ms. Swift, who bought the seven-bedroom house through an LLC for $4.8 million, sold it a few months later for $5.675 million, significantly more than she paid, property records show. Mr. Kennedy didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Paid $17.75 Million For A Colonial Style Mansion In 2013
Current Estimated Value: $30 Million
Ms. Swift then turned her attention to another seaside location: the wealthy but quiet Watch Hill enclave of Westerly, R.I.
There, she paid $17.75 million through an LLC for a circa-1930s home on one of the highest points in town, according to Jim Michalove of Seaboard Properties, the listing agent, and property records.
The roughly 11,700-square-foot, Colonial-style mansion, formerly known as Holiday House, has seven bedrooms and eight fireplaces. It sits on about 5.23 acres with roughly 700 feet of sandy shoreline and a swimming pool, according to a previous listing.
Due to its location and elevation, the home has panoramic views of both the Atlantic ocean and Little Narragansett Bay, said Mr. Michalove. “It has the best views of anything you’re going to get in town,” he said.
Before buying in Watch Hill, Ms. Swift had looked at the former Katharine Hepburn estate in Fenwick on the Connecticut shoreline, according to then-owner Frank Sciame. Holiday House, also known as High Watch, had been listed in 2010 for $24 million, and it wasn’t formally on the market when Ms. Swift bought it.
To dissuade looky-loos, Ms. Swift posted a sign on her property that read—in a nod to one of her songs— “I knew you were trouble when you walked in. NO TRESPASSING.”
Ms. Swift became known for throwing lavish Fourth of July parties at the house attended by celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Gigi Hadid, then documenting the bashes on her Instagram account. The home’s history also inspired one of her songs, “The Last Great American Dynasty,” about former owner Rebekah Harkness.
“I got the house when I was in my early twenties as a place for my family to congregate and be together,” Ms. Swift told Entertainment Weekly in 2020, adding that she quickly became fascinated with tales of Ms. Harkness and the home’s history.
“Anyone who’s been there before knows that I do ‘The Tour,’ in quotes, where I show everyone through the house. And I tell them different anecdotes about each room, because I’ve done that much research on this house and this woman.”
Lately, however, there have been few public sightings of Ms. Swift in Watch Hill, sparking rumors that she might be willing to sell the house. Mr. Michalove said that he inquired about purchasing the house on behalf of a client several years ago and was told no.
Lori Joyal, an agent at Lila Delman Compass, said if Holiday House were to be sold now, it would likely be worth about $30 million. “It’s the nicest house in Watch Hill,” she said.
Tribeca, New York City
Paid $19.95 Million For Two Penthouse Units In The Sugar Loaf Building In 2014
Paid $18 Million For A Townhouse In 2017
Paid $9.75 Million For An Apartment In 2017
Current Estimated Value Of Tribeca Holdings: $45 Million
By 2014, Ms. Swift’s crossover into pop stardom was well established. That year—around the time her song “Welcome to New York” was released on the album “1989”—she started buying Manhattan real estate.
Using an LLC, she paid $19.95 million to buy two penthouse units at the Sugar Loaf building in Tribeca from director Peter Jackson, combining them to create a roughly 8,000-square-foot duplex, property records show.
The building, built as a warehouse in the 1880s, over the years has attracted other celebrities such as Orlando Bloom and Steven Soderbergh, local agents said.
The success of her fifth album “1989,” with hits like “Shake it Off” and “Blank Space,” propelled Ms. Swift to a new level of fame, and in 2016 she started shopping for a private garage in New York, according to Manhattan real-estate agent Andrew Azoulay.
Mr. Azoulay had listings for two Tribeca homes with private garages at the time, he said, and Ms. Swift considered buying one of them, but decided not to because “she loved her apartment and didn’t want to leave.”
Then, Mr. Azoulay said, he proposed that she buy the townhouse adjacent to the Sugar Loaf building, which had previously been used as a garage, as well as a unit on the condominium’s second floor.
That way, she could use the townhouse as a private garage, then connect it to the condo building through the second floor. “She wanted to be able to go from the garage to her apartment without exiting the building,” he said.
Using LLCs, the singer paid $18 million in 2017 for the three-story, 27-foot-wide townhouse, records show, and $9.75 million to buy the roughly 3,540-square-foot second-floor Sugar Loaf building spread in an off-market deal.
Mr. Azoulay estimated that, with the cost of construction, it likely cost more than $30 million to bring the plan to fruition.
“It’s probably the most expensive garage there is,” he said. He estimated that her Tribeca holdings are likely worth about $45 million today.
“It wasn’t a real-estate play, it was for safety and security and convenience,” he said.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Paid $3.55 Million For A Four-Bedroom House In 2011
Sold For $4 Million In 2018
Paid $1.775 Million For A Four Bedroom House In 2012
Sold For $2.65 Million In 2018
Paid $25 Million For Goldwyn Estate In 2015
Current Estimated Value: $70 Million
Ms. Swift established a foothold in Beverly Hills in 2011, when she paid $3.55 million through an LLC for a four-bedroom home on about 1 ½ acres, property records show.
Built around 1941, the roughly 3,000-square-foot, gated home has an East Coast-style aesthetic that is somewhat unusual in the area, local agents said.
It was also very private, with a long driveway and hedges obscuring the house from the street.
A year later, Ms. Swift used a trust to buy a four-bedroom, Mid-Century Modern home less than a mile away for $1.775 million, which she used for guests but never lived in herself, according to records and a person with knowledge of her real-estate dealings.
She added to her California holdings in 2015 when she paid $25 million through an LLC to purchase a circa-1934, roughly 11,000-square-foot house on approximately 2 acres, according to public records.
The estate was built by iconic Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, who founded a company that later became part of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio, according to a report by the City of Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission. Ms. Swift bought it from the Goldwyn family, property records show.
The Georgian Revival estate, with its original pool house and tennis court, was at one point priced at $39 million. “She got a great deal,” said real-estate agent Josh Flagg, noting that her property is next door to the William Randolph Hearst estate, which recently sold for $63.1 million.
With only three houses on the street, he noted, it offered plenty of privacy.
Ms. Swift restored the house, which retains original features such as its screening room, said architect Monique Schenk, who worked on the project. “It was quite well-preserved,” she said. Ms. Swift’s LLC applied to have the home made a historic landmark, and the request was granted in 2017.
“It was really nice to see something not just torn down,” said Ms. Schenk.
Mr. Flagg estimated that the estate might be worth around $70 million if it were to sell today.
Ms. Swift has decorated the home with contemporary art pieces and vintage furnishings, according to Michael Francis Taylor, author of the biography “Taylor Swift: The Brightest Star.”
“Taylor is a huge fan of traditional Americana interior design,” he said. In 2020, under Covid restrictions, she recorded the Grammy-winning album “Folklore” in the house.
In 2018, Ms. Swift sold her other two Beverly Hills homes, making a tidy profit on each: The larger property sold for $4 million in an off-market deal to Nicolas Bijan, son of the late designer Bijan Pakzad, property records show, while the smaller one sold one for $2.65 million.
$1,500 Bedazzled Jacket, $350 Dress: Fans Shell Out To Look Like Taylor Swift
Designers replicate star’s famous outfits for fans to wear to concerts.
Loren McManus has spent months sewing costumes for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. The outfits are bejeweled, sparkly and can make a stadium shimmer—but they’re not for the stage. They’re for fans in the audience.
Taylor mania means a boom time for tailors. Swifties are going all out, paying hundreds of dollars to have fashion designers create custom looks to wear to Ms. Swift’s first tour in five years. Most want copies of designer dresses the superstar has worn on red carpets or in music videos.
“They want to look like Taylor, basically,” says Ms. McManus, 32 years old, who works out of a 200-square-foot studio in Columbus, Ga.
Ms. McManus found customers on TikTok, posting a 55-second video in November saying she’d love to make outfits for fans. “It went off like a bomb,” she says, and she has received so many orders she put work on her own fashion line on hold.
The most requested item? A replica of a green sequin jacket Ms. Swift wore while singing “All Too Well” during 2018’s Reputation Stadium Tour.
To duplicate the jacket, Ms. McManus watched the performance on Netflix and studied fan photos posted online to see different angles.
The original has patches of flowers, hearts and crowns all over, so Ms. McManus bought similar ones from Etsy to glue on. A 17-inch golden snake for the back had to be outsourced to a custom patch maker. “You can’t find it anywhere else,” she says.
Starting cost for the jacket: $450. The priciest one goes for $1,500, and has patches bedazzled with colorful crystals that Ms. McManus glues on one-by-one using tweezers.
“Some people are definitely spending more money on the costumes than they did on the ticket,” she says. “I mean, I get it, they want to look good.”
Standing out in the stadium is important for fans. In past tours, Ms. Swift’s team has picked members of the audience to meet the 12-time Grammy winner backstage.
Swifties have fretted about what to wear since Era Tour tickets went on sale in November, selling out instantly and causing Ticketmaster to crash in a debacle that led to a congressional hearing.
The tour, which kicked off in March, is a greatest-hits type show, going through all her albums or eras. Fans are sharing tips on how to recreate the looks from each era, like the pastel outfits Ms. Swift sported around 2019’s “Lover” album, or the crop tops from “1989,” which came out in 2014.
“It’s such a sought-after concert, I don’t want to just go in a T-shirt and jeans,” says Jennifer Green, 39, a real-estate agent who is going to a Houston show in April. “I thought long and hard about what I could pay to have somebody make something that nobody else would have.”
She found Ms. McManus, who took two months to make what Ms. Green wanted: A copy of a Balmain minidress and thigh-high boots that Ms. Swift wore to the 2018 American Music Awards.
Ms. Green paid Ms. McManus $550 for the dress and boots, twice as much as her two tickets cost. The outfit has light-reflecting mirror squares throughout, even on the boots, which will make Ms. Green look like a walking disco ball. She expects fans to stop her at the concert.
“It’s for all the girls that love Taylor Swift,” she says about her outfit. “I’m excited thinking about how everybody else is going to be excited.”
Ms. Green’s husband, who she suspects will come to the concert in Levi’s and a fishing shirt, has already received a warning.
“I’m gonna dress crazy,” she says she told him. “You can’t complain.”
In Los Angeles, Swifties were a savior for Natalia Trevino Amaro. Her made-to-order line of dresses didn’t sell well last year, she says, so she decided to “shoot my shot” and put out a video offering to make outfits. “It hit the right audience and now that’s all I’m doing, which is really funny,” Ms. Trevino Amaro says.
Khaki Wiygul saw it and knew what she desired: A pink-and-red dress with a big red heart on the chest that Ms. Swift wore in the music video for “Me!” in 2018. “I’ve been wanting it since then,” says Ms. Wiygul, a 26-year-old architect in Dallas.
Ms. Wiygul sent her measurements to Ms. Trevino Amaro, who worked up the heart dress in about five hours from her Los Angeles apartment. Ms. Wiygul paid $350, and will wear it to the concert Friday with a headband, to match the 1960s vibes from the music video.
Ms. Trevino Amaro, 23, says the heart dress from “Me!” was the most requested look, which surprised her. “That tends to be the song that most people skip and don’t like,” she says.
She also has received several orders to duplicate an Oscar de la Renta floral dress Ms. Swift wore to the 2021 Grammy Awards. Ms. Trevino Amaro hand stitches embroidered flowers to her creations.
After accepting 40 orders, Ms. Trevino Amaro isn’t taking any more. She says she wants to focus on her fashion line that she sells online. She also has another project: Making the outfit she’ll wear herself to see Ms. Swift in August.
Ms. Trevino Amaro declined to say what it will look like, and says she won’t sell a version of it.
“I want to be the only one that has it,” she says
Taylor Swift Fans Are Ready To Hear The Breakup Songs
After the singer reportedly ended her long-term relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, Swifties have been searching for meaning in her ‘Eras Tour’ performances and theorizing which songs could make it onto the set list now.
Like many Taylor Swift fans, Michelle Lopez, 27, was sad to see reports this month that the singer had ended her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn.
“The things she’d write about him made the relationship seem like it was a fairy tale love story,” said Ms. Lopez, a social-media analyst in Chicago, citing such songs as “Call It What You Want” and “Invisible String.”
But she sees at least one upside: The breakup could bode well for Ms. Swift’s ever-evolving “Eras Tour” set list.
“I think she’s going to drop ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ and then do more of those songs during the tour,” said Ms. Lopez, referring to Ms. Swift’s third studio album, which she is rerecording as part of an effort to regain ownership of her music.
Comprising songs the artist wrote herself, the album represents Ms. Swift’s self-reliance and independence, Ms. Lopez said, making it a fitting release for her newly single era.
Her gut may have been right. During her April 14 performance in Tampa, Fla., Ms. Swift said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my albums recently. One of my albums has been on my mind a lot.” Then she broke out into the “Speak Now” title track.
Swifties, as the musician’s fans are known, have always mined her social-media posts, clothing choices and public remarks for clues about her next career move.
Ms. Swift, 33, has provided them with riddles and hints since she was a teenager, including numbers that might signify the date of a new album’s release and Instagram captions that indicate future album titles.
The impulse to interpret her every action as a sign has extended to Ms. Swift’s “Eras Tour” concerts, which feature 44 discography-spanning songs and run longer than three hours.
Now her fans are waiting to see how she might use the tour to address the end of her relationship, first reported by the “Entertainment Tonight” website. Neither Ms. Swift nor Mr. Alwyn returned requests for comment.
Since the Eras Tour began in March, Ms. Swift has made subtle changes for each show, switching out costumes and shuffling the surprise songs she performs before diving into the “Midnights” portion of her set list.
Serious Swifties have taken to tracking her song choices in elaborate charts and spreadsheets to make informed guesses about which might appear next.
Julia Preston, 26, received so many comments on her TikTok videos about her spreadsheet that she created a submission form for people to vote for the surprise songs they want to hear. She estimated that she’s received 4,000 votes so far.
“I don’t think she’s going to shy away from singing songs about him as surprise songs because that’s kind of impossible,” said Ms. Preston, who works in marketing in Atlanta. “So much of her discography is about him.”
Several songs from the albums “Reputation” and “Lover” are understood to be about Mr. Alwyn. (“London Boy,” about roaming the city with a British beau, may be the most on the nose.) The actor is also credited as a co-writer on six of Ms. Swift’s songs, including “Sweet Nothing” from her most recent album, “Midnights.”
In a TikTok video that has been viewed more than 1.3 million times, Ms. Lopez shared her thoughts about possible breakup symbolism in Ms. Swift’s performances.
“Was Taylor burning down the ‘Lover’ house at the Eras Tour her way of telling us that her and Joe split?” she said, referring to the dollhouse-like structure from the “Lover” music video.
“And taking ‘Invisible String’ off the set list? The layers.” (Ms. Swift switched out the love song for ‘The 1,’ a breakup ballad, about a week before the news broke.)
Allie Melville, a 20-year-old college student, found herself trading theories with colleagues at the campus call center where she works. “We were thinking she’s going to play older stuff,” she said—songs from before the relationship with Mr. Alwyn began.
“I want to hear her perform ‘Lover’ and ‘Reputation’ songs, even though they are about Joe, just to show she’s not avoiding the situation and it’s not affecting her, because I don’t think it is,” said Ms. Melville’s co-worker Ellie Wilson, 19.
“She’s very meticulous with everything,” said Hania Abbas, 20, another one of Ms. Melville’s call-center colleagues. Showing her own scrupulousness, Ms. Abbas deployed a Swiftian reference from the album “Midnights” to describe the singer: “She’s a mastermind.”
What Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Investing
The megastar reportedly dodged a catastrophic deal with FTX by asking one simple question.
Angry victims of the FTX swindle are looking for restitution from the celebrity spokespeople who pitched the failed exchange, in a lawsuit that names Larry David, Tom Brady and Shaquille O’Neill, among others.
One name not on that list is Taylor Swift, who was offered a reported $100 million sponsorship deal with the offshore crypto exchange – but dodged embarrassment and potential legal fallout by exercising some basic skepticism.
Swift reportedly asked FTX representatives, “Can you tell me that these [listed assets] are not unregistered securities?” in the course of negotiations, which ultimately failed.
That’s according to Adam Moskowitz, the plaintiff’s lawyer in the FTX endorsements suit, speaking to The Block’s Frank Chaparro. Moskowitz describes learning about the incident in the discovery phase of the suit, and I haven’t seen confirmation from Taylor Swift’s camp.
But even if it’s a bit of a just-so story, there’s a wealth of wisdom in this little parable. It wouldn’t be the first time Swift showed herself to be a brilliant and sharp-elbowed businesswoman on top of her musical talent – for instance, having muscled her way free of an onerous publishing deal.
The lesson of her FTX adventure, though, is a bit more abstract than it seems. Swift’s question about unregistered securities was remarkably prescient, given that we’re now seeing aggressive regulatory crackdowns on crypto exchanges.
She has, it seems, been paying attention. But selling unregistered securities was not what brought FTX down – old-fashioned fraud was the culprit. Swift did not, it seems, ask FTX representatives “is your management team secretly sending user assets to an affiliated hedge fund?”
How, then, might her securities law question, largely unrelated to the risk that ultimately manifested, have led Swift to shy away from going into business with FTX? I’m speculating here, but one likely scenario is that she or her people weren’t satisfied with the way FTX handled this and other questions.
For instance, maybe Bankman-Fried or his representatives were confused or uncoordinated or defensive – all useful signs of an organization that may have deeper problems. (Or maybe the Swift camp didn’t appreciate FTX’s boy wonder playing “League of Legends” during their meeting.)
Despite Moskowitz’s secondhand characterization, we can’t be sure this is how it actually went down. The negotiations between FTX and Swift were first reported back in December by the Financial Times.
The deal would have netted Swift $100 million for placing FTX branding at concerts. According to the FT’s sources, though, there was skepticism of the deal within FTX because of its astronomical price tag (for comparison, FTX paid $135 million for naming rights to the Miami Heat stadium).
But taken at face value, the lesson of Moskowitz’s story is that maybe you don’t have to be completely up to speed on every single long-tail risk facing everything you invest in.
What Swift did right wasn’t so much asking a specific question about the law or securities – it was asking any challenging and critical questions at all.
A truly canny investor won’t be entirely focused on the content of the answers to hard questions, but also on the way a question is addressed.
Whether you’re able to do it face-to-face as Swift reportedly did or by turning a sharp eye to a company’s public communications, that’s a basic and crucial evaluation tool in business and investing at any level.
At least in my mind-palace version of events, Taylor Swift smelled a rat in the responses to her questions about securities law. By running in the other direction, she avoided a catastrophe.