I’m sorry, the old Taylor Swift can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s not doing any interviews…
These are interesting times for the old school promotional campaign. Liam Gallagher and Sam Smith have shown the huge value in hitting all the right spots at all the right times for their album launches, but some other stars now prefer to control their own campaigns.
When was the last time you read a Beyoncé interview? Adele is the world’s biggest-selling artist yet has the media profile of a lo-fi punk band.
And now Taylor Swift, arguably the planet’s biggest pop star and definitely no slouch at the promotion game, has launched her hotly-anticipated Reputation album without doing a single interview (although she has produced two magazines of her own as part of Reputation’s special editions).
Not everyone is happy about this (one tabloid accused Swift of “going full diva”) but given the amount of nonsense that swirls around her every action, you can hardly blame her for wanting fans to hear the music unfiltered for once. And judging by the way Reputation has blasted out of the gate, going silver in the UK inside three days (despite not being available on streaming services) and heading for a fourth consecutive one million sales-plus first week in the US, no one can say it isn't working as a policy.
Acts that never do interviews miss out on those career-defining magazine articles or iconic chat show appearances that can cement their appeal in the eyes of the public.
But they also get to avoid being asked spurious questions about things they don’t want to talk about in order to fuel the clickbait culture. Especially when they can communicate direct with fans via social media; something Swift mastered long ago.
Further explanation can wait. You may need to be the world’s biggest pop star to get away with it but, when the strategy works this well, Taylor might not be the only one who decides not to come to the phone…