Photo Credit: GabboT / CC by 2.0
On Thursday, January 5, Taylor Swift’s official store released a limited 12-hour sale of exclusive digital album downloads of her recent album, Midnights. Each of the four limited edition versions featured new cover art with a different photo of Swift, with bonus content relating to one of four tracks: “Mastermind,” “Anti-Hero,” “Karma,” and “Bejeweled.” The digital albums each only cost $4.99, so the swiftest of Swifties could score all four for $20.
When arranged in a square formation, the four albums form a clockface similar to the covers on the four special edition vinyl copies of Midnights that Swift announced in September. But by creating scarcity with a 12-hour window for the digital copies, Swift has proven that digital content can still spark fan interest — even without the blockchain integration of an NFT.
While downloads are not making a comeback the way vinyl has, Taylor Swift has demonstrated that they still have their place within music monetization strategies. Selling downloads directly to fans like merch generates more profits and data.
For Swift, this is especially beneficial when entities like Ticketmaster have let her fans down in the past. The historic sale of concert tickets for her Eras Tour next year caused mass outages for Ticketmaster, leading some Swifties to sue the platform.
The 11-time Grammy winner released Midnights in late October, but it’s already made a splash as one of Swift’s most historic albums. The lead single, “Anti-Hero,” debuted at Number One on the Hot 100, and the album made Swift the first artist to occupy all ten of the top ten spots on the Hot 100.