BEN SISARIO NYTimes.com 08/19/14
For most pop stars, the announcement of a new album is a pretty routine affair. But most pop stars are not Taylor Swift.
Demonstrating her mastery of online media, and of the aggressive yet folksy style of self-promotion that has made her one of the most successful acts of her generation, Ms. Swift on Monday released a new music video and announced that her next album, “1989,” would come out Oct. 27.
The announcement took the form of a talk-show presentation with cheering fans that was streamed live by Yahoo, with the simultaneous premiere of the video for her new song, “Shake It Off,” on the online music service Vevo. During the brief announcement, Ms. Swift, who started out firmly in the country world but has gradually moved closer to pop, chatted breezily about the inspirations for her new music and called “1989” her “very first documented, official pop album.” She also answered questions from fans that came through Instagram, Skype and Twitter.
Ms. Swift, 24, also directed fans to her website, where they could preorder different versions of the album, named for the year of her birth.
With the announcement, Ms. Swift seemed to be taking the next step in a constantly evolving game of album promotion by pop stars. For her last release, “Red,” in 2012, she relied heavily on partnerships with consumer brands like Target, Walgreens and Papa John’s pizza, a strategy that helped the album sell 1.2 million copies in the first week of its release.
But since then, other big albums have been accompanied by ever more inventive release plans. Jay Z put out an album through a smartphone app, and Beyoncé’s came out on iTunes with no advance warning — a strategy so novel that it became a news story on its own. Last month, Weird Al Yankovic helped make “Mandatory Fun” the first No. 1 album of his three-decade career by releasing a video a day for eight days straight, complete with a Twitter hashtag that increased the videos’ viral appeal.
Ms. Swift stoked interest in the days leading up to her announcement by appearing on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and posting teases to her Instagram account, which has 10.4 million followers. (Her Twitter account ranks fifth in terms of followers, with 42.7 million.)
Yahoo did not immediately respond to a question Monday evening about how many times the video had been watched. But within minutes of Ms. Swift’s announcement, Twitter had ranked her as a top discussion trend.