Ralphie Report: What’s next for Taylor after 1989
The “1989” era seems finished for Taylor Swift, and oh, what an era it was.
“I think that if Taylor was standing right beside us … I think everyone knows, her fans especially know that she never stops writing,” Scott Borchetta, founder of Big Machine Records, replied when I asked him if Swift’s most recent LP cycle was finished. “Now is no different than ever. But as far as the album cycle, this will be the first time that we break that “every-two-year” album cycle, and there’s not a time when I call her and say, ‘Hey, pal it’s time to get a record.’
“You know, she’ll call me. She’ll know when she’s ready. And then she’ll be the one to announce to the world when the next music is coming.”
Swift accomplished a lot with “1989”: seven singles including a handful of number one hits, her third straight LP to debut platinum, a Grammy for Album Of The Year and a world tour that sold out the biggest venues on the planet.
The singer, in what has become typical, broke the norm from start to finish. She announced the album and debuted the single “Shake It Off” with a live-stream from New York on Yahoo. Swift took on one of the biggest companies in the world when Apple didn’t want to pay royalties to artists for the trial period of its new streaming service. Not only did the “Blank Space” artist compel Apple to change its stance, but she then partnered with the company for one of the more hilarious commercials in recent memory.
And don’t forget, before Apple, Swift defined the conversation around streaming services when she pulled her catalog from non-premium sites such as the free version of Spotify.
“#Taylurking” became a thing when the LP dropped; Swift redefined how artists in this day and age interact with their fans. She commented on their Tumblr posts, replied to them on Instagram, mailed them gifts and invited them to her house for secret listening sessions.
Perhaps most importantly, in the era of the “selfie” she showed her fans that having a group of friends (“squad goals”) is cool. Yes, this was even on display with the album cycle as well: the cameo-filled music video for “Bad Blood” featured many of her “squad-mates” and won the top categories at both The GRAMMYs and The MTV Video Music Awards.
Right to the end, Swift attempted to redefine how albums (which she stressed to me in 2014 are still something of both importance and value) are marketed. “New Romantics” was the seventh single from the LP and perhaps unprecedented wasn’t even on the main album listing as it served as a bonus track.
So yes, Swift has dropped an album every two years since her 2006 debut and we’re probably not getting one in 2016. But even with the high bar she set, the singer has never released an LP that had the wide-spread impact of “1989.” Even if her “Swifties” have to wait a little longer than normal for Swift’s next project, it’s not like this last one will be going out of style anytime soon.
Listen to “Ralphie Tonight” weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight on 97 BHT.