In today’s recording industry, even the most popular stars have been forced to adjust, even those rare and steady sources of platinum records. Indeed, Taylor Swift’s recent changes not only address her audience but the manner in which they are consuming her brand today and for the forseeable future. First, her persona has changed. If on 2006’s Fearless Swift was a decidedly wide-eyed high school innocent who lived for first kisses, her latest record, Red, exhibits moments of cynicism, derides her exes and pokes fun at herself for being a bit of a dork, albeit one that is 22, has a job and a nightlife. But it's how this finance investor’s daughter’s label has distributed her latest release that reminds her fans that Swift is decidedly career-oriented.
Part of this has been to make certain that Swift’s brand remains physically ubiquitous even as national record chains have shuttered. By the time Red was released last October, Swift’s label, Big Machine, had scored deals with a number of chains to place her CD. However, those deals with Papa Johns, the nation’s 3rd largest pizza purveyor, and Walgreens, the largest drug store in the US, were unique. Throughout fall 2012, Papa John customers could purchase a “Taylor Swift pizza party” and receive the CD, a pie, and a Taylor Swift pizza box for $22 (Wyland 2012). Swift’s CD is also available at Walgreens along with her merchandise. The drug store provides prominent and easy access to a broad range of her merchandise such as Taylor Swift spiral notebooks, T-shirts, posters, journals, cell phone cases, and blankets. In one sense her brand dovetails with Walgreens’ recent efforts to rebrand their generic goods as part of the “Nice!” line. As Forbes noted, ““Nice” is also an apt description of Taylor Swift” (Galli 2012). It’s unclear if Swift’s fans will be buying CDs or even downloading music in ten years, but no doubt they will continue to buy pizzas and get prescription drugs and visit other places where Taylor Swift will continue to be sold.
Galli, L. (2012) "Taylor Swift And Walgreens Make A Nice Pair." Forbes.
Wyland, S. (2012). "Taylor Swift & Papa John’s to Bring Fans Pizza & Red." GAC News & Notes.