Taylor Swift midnights album
Image via Instagram/@taylorswift

Does Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ Sabotage Her Current Business Model?

Fans were expecting another re-recorded album, but Taylor Swift’s announcement of her 10th original studio album switches up the plan.

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Taylor Swift midnights album
Image via Instagram/@taylorswift

Fans were expecting another re-recorded album, but Taylor Swift’s announcement of her 10th original studio album switches up the plan.

On Aug. 28, Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. Though Swift’s attendance was in support of her nominated self-directed short film and music video “All Too Well (10 minute version) (Taylor’s Version),” fans were quick to speculate about any possible (real-life) Easter eggs that the artist is famous for. Swift’s nominations were for “Red (Taylor’s Version),” her second re-recorded album since Scooter Braun bought the master recordings of her first six studio albums.

With parted bangs, striking bejeweled makeup and an Oscar De La Renta mini dress composed of bedazzled chains, Swift’s look made fans think that she was first referencing her bathtub of jewels in the 2017 “Look What You Made Me Do” music video. Although she was technically supporting “Red (Taylor’s Version),” fans hoped she might have had an ulterior plan to announce her next re-recorded album, which fans believed would be 2017’s “Reputation.” Others compared the mini dress to the silver KaufmanFranco gown she wore when she accepted the video of the year award that started her feud with Kanye West at the VMAs just 13 years ago in 2009. Many had hoped for and anticipated an announcement this summer, because “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was released just eight months after “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

However, the eight-month mark has long passed since the release of her second re-recorded album in November 2021, and with the ongoing “Shake it Off” lawsuits regarding allegedly improperly credited lyrics, fans clung to her appearance in hopes of an announcement.

And they were rewarded. After winning video of the year for her short film and music video, Swift began by thanking her fans: “I’m just so proud of what we made and I know with every second of this moment that we wouldn’t have been able to make this short film if it weren’t for you, the fans,” said Swift. “I wouldn’t be able to re-record my albums if it weren’t for you. You emboldened me to do that.”

With only two re-records released, most fans suspected an announcement of one of the four remaining at this time. However, Swift surprised them with something that curved her entire business model: “I made up my mind that if you were going to be this generous, and give us this … I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you my new album comes out Oct. 21, and I will tell you more at midnight.”

The album, titled “Midnights,” follows stories from 13 of Swift’s sleepless nights throughout her life and career. Her 10th original studio album will arrive arguably years too early, but fans are not complaining. It begs the question: Does the move to release an original 10th studio album throw a monkeywrench in her lucrative business model to reclaim her discography?

Oddly, it doesn’t seem so. Her albums have consistently charted miles ahead of her competitors, whether they are announced on the day of release like “folklore” and “evermore,” or her more traditionally well-planned studio releases “Lover” and “1989.”

The announcement, which deviates from her plan to re-release her albums over the course of several years, might confuse some members of the audience, especially since no artist in recent memory has embarked on such a journey to re-record and reclaim their globally acclaimed studio albums.

However, the public has welcomed this new album, and fans theorize that it will take explicit inspiration from nights throughout her life and career — perhaps this album is a cumulative representation of all of her albums. Some speculate that each track could be a vault track, which would be in line with her re-recordings, which each feature their own unreleased tracks.

The tracklist is perhaps ominously composed of generic titles. Instead of more specific titles, each song is named after its track number: “Track One,” “Track Two,” and so on. While Swift is known for her clever titles, if these track names aren’t just hiding the real titles that will be revealed later, it will be one of her most inventive tracklists seen yet.

Though the announcement for “Midnights” was both a surprise fans had not anticipated and a digression from her current album re-release schedule, it is already expected to be a success, and its release, paired with clever marketing, will undoubtedly justify its early arrival.

It’s remarkable that 13 years after Kanye first chastised her during her video of the year win, Swift has not only won the same award 13 years later, but that she is still in control of the narrative.

Writer Profile

Kylie Clifton

Loyola Marymount University
Journalism

Originally from Michigan, Kylie loves trying new foods, asking questions and curating outfits. She’s passionate about all kinds of diverse reporting, especially with film and television.

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