Unless you've been living under a rock, Taylor Swift is having a moment. She's not yet 25 and she's already a pop chart veteran. Her new album "1989" was responsible for 22 percent of album sales in the United States last week and sold more than the next 106 titles on this week's chart combined. How many artists can lay claim to that? You know the answer: Not many at all. Here are three tactics that any business can cop from her playbook.
Market Early and Often
Swift's hard push out of country territory may have alienated her first fans, but the new album released October 27 won her legions more. A big part of that had to with her extensive marketing campaign, which included a blitz of television and radio appearances and those ubiquitious Diet Coke ads. The physical release--which included a CD version with extra tracks sold only at Target--sold 647,000 copies, and 640,000 digital versions were downloaded. But the push really began back in August when Swift released "Shake It Off" as a single and sent fans to iTunes to pre-order the album.
Show the Love
Just because "1989" went platinum doesn't mean Swift has forgotten her fans. In response to news from Nielsen SoundScan that she sold 1.287 million copies of "1989" within the first week, Swift posted a ridiculous video of her lip-synching to Kendrick Lamar in her car.
That the Internet fell for it was no surprise, given that Swift is a social media master. On platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook she makes direct connections with fans, often reposting images of them with her album. "When you do that, you generate a kind of advocacy and excitement that no level of advertising could," Matt Britton, chief executive of MRY, a youth marketing agency with the Publicis Groupe, told the New York Times. When fans see her hanging out at a Knicks game, they feel like they're a part of her life, and that makes her authentic.
Drop the Freemium Model
Swift isn't exactly opposed to streaming services since her catalogue can be heard on Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play Music, and Beats Music, among others. But she did make a point this week about how she wanted to her music to be consumed--as a premium stream for paying subscribers versus a free stream for everyone. Spotify refused to make that concession, so Swift and her label pulled her entire catalogue. The strategy is what's known as "windowing," or withholding new material to spur CD and download sales, and both Adele and Coldplay have done it effectively. But this practice isn't just limited to the music business. If you want to watch a new movie on Netflix, you're going to have to wait at least 28 days before it becomes available.