Taylor Swift has sometimes been seen as an overnight success. From pre-teen to CMA Award winner. To music industry followers that assumption is relative. Her first radio single (Tim McGraw) was released in 2006 and there was a lot of planning and set up years before that.
Swift, like all artists and superstars, has had her fair share of luck. But Swift has parlayed those breaks into a multimedia success story and lifestyle brand that is as strong as Disney.
Swift attached herself to other great brands. Country music was just a start. She quickly release one of her first singles as almost an homage to “Tim McGraw.” The song did well but more importantly it gave other country stars something to attach to. Plus she shrewdly made the connection an event when she performed the song on the Country Music Awards with McGraw in the front row. On Network television she wrapped up the performance square in front of the star on the theatre floor and extended a humle introductio, “Hi I’m Taylor.” It was not only a bold move, even risky, but it also created water cooler talk for days. Showmanship at it’s best. Swift was also an early opener on a George Strait tour that would put her front and center before some traditional country fans. Later, on her 2012 “Speak Now” Tour she enlisted A-list stars like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Ronnie Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Darius Rucker to further attach herself to other superstars (granted by 2012 her star was shining brighter than even her guests).
Swift has always made it a point to write what she knows. Life as a teen and young adult was not a common theme in country music. Still isn’t. But the combination of honest lyrics and hooky arrangements made her someone everyone wanted to hear and relate to.
She is a total tease. Yes, she admits her songs are about real breakups, relationships, and – gasp – celebrity boys. But she won’t divulge the names or the details. Fans get to comb over the lyrics and try to piece together the storyline. It’s pop culture crack for a TMZ generation. John Mayer, Taylor Laughtner, Her latest Kennedy family romance (with Conor Kennedy) is the latest in her water cooler marketing happenings. It has helped fuel pre launch interest in 2012′s “Red” album.
Swift is a social media maven. She was an early adopter of MySpace and Twitter where she cultivated a fanbase of millions. Almost 20 million Twitter followers at last count.
There is no secret recipe to Swifts success other than writing and composing important songs that stand the test of time. That she has revealed as a gift to fans and has proven to be the most important tool in her pink tool box.