Taylor Swift’s ‘Poets’ Arrives With a Promotional Blitz (and a Second LP)

Taylor Swift was already the most ubiquitous pop star in the galaxy, her presence dominating the music charts, the concert calendar, the Super Bowl, the Grammys.

Then it came time for her to promote a new album.

In the days leading up to the release of “The Tortured Poets Department” on Friday, Swift became all but inescapable, online and seemingly everywhere else. Her lyrics were the basis for an Apple Music word game. A Spotify-sponsored, Swift-branded “library installation,” in muted pink and gray, popped up in a shopping complex in Los Angeles. In Chicago, a QR code painted on a brick wall directed fans to another Easter egg on YouTube. Videos on Swift’s social media accounts, showing antique typewriters and globes with pins, were dissected for clues about her music. SiriusXM added a Swift radio station; of course it’s called Channel 13 (Taylor’s Version).

About the only thing Swift didn’t do was an interview with a journalist.

At this stage in Swift’s career, an album release is more than just a moment to sell music; it’s all but a given that “The Tortured Poets Department” will open with gigantic sales numbers, many of them for “ghost white,” “phantom clear” and other collector-ready vinyl variants. More than that, the album’s arrival is a test of the celebrity-industrial complex overall, with tech platforms and media outlets racing to capture whatever piece of the fan frenzy they can get.

Threads, the newish social media platform from Meta, primed Swifties for their idol’s arrival there, and offered fans who shared Swift’s first Threads post a custom badge. Swift stunned the music industry last week by breaking ranks with her record label, Universal, and returning her music to TikTok, which Universal and other industry groups have said pays far too little in royalties. Overnight, TikTok unveiled “The Ultimate Taylor Swift In-App Experience,” offering fans digital goodies like a “Tortured Poets-inspired animation” on their feed.

Before the album’s release on Friday, Swift revealed that a music video — for “Fortnight,” the first single, featuring Post Malone — would arrive on Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern time. At 2 a.m., she had another surprise: 15 more songs. “I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you,” she wrote in a social media post, bringing “The Anthology” edition of the album to 31 tracks.

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