After the release of Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Midnights,” I’ve realized that she is a PR genius.
On Sept. 21 — one month before the release of “Midnights” — Swift posted a video on TikTok of her using a bingo roller cage to reveal the track titles. In this video, it was revealed that track 13 is titled “Mastermind.” She called this series of videos “Midnights Mayhem With Me,” and the series continued until all 13 track titles were announced.
Swift’s fans — also known as “Swifties” — have been known to be extremely loyal to her. During the “Midnights Mayhem With Me” series, fans started looking for hidden clues within the videos to find any additional information about the songs. Swift knew that her fans would respond like this, which is why I consider her to be a PR genius. It can be argued that most artists would simply release the track titles of their new albums, but Swift wanted to create that personal connection with her fans, which is the type of relationship PR is based on.
“Midnights Mayhem With Me” was not the first time that Swifties obsessed over figuring out the clues given to them. In 2019, Swift tweeted that her new album title was shown in the music video for “ME!” Fans theorized that the title of the album was “Lover,” due to a neon sign on the side of a building in the video. This theory later proved to be true.
“Midnights” was released on Oct. 21 at, you guessed it, midnight Eastern Daylight Time. To add to the craziness of this release, Swift released seven additional tracks at 3 a.m. EDT, on Oct. 21, that she calls her “3am tracks.” The “3am tracks” are available on “Midnights (3am Edition),” which is an extended version of the original album. Swift said that “there were other songs we wrote on our journey to find that magic 13.” Swifties were shocked by the surprise release of the extra songs, and it helped prove the theory some fans had that there would be another album drop after “Midnights” was released.
As public relations students and professionals, we know how important loyalty and personal connections are. Swift has mastered both of these concepts, which contributes to her success. With the release of “Midnights,” she broke two records on Spotify. “Midnights” became the most-streamed album in a single day, and Swift broke the record for the most-streamed artist in a single day. Additionally, the album had the largest sales week for any album since 2017 and is the top-selling album of 2022 to date.
It is clear that Swift knows how to grab the attention of her fans and strategically connect with them, and it’s paid off. Swift has been sending fans hidden messages for years now, and we can expect to continue to get these “easter eggs” for the rest of her career. If you watched the “Midnights Mayhem With Me” videos, did you pick up on any of the hidden messages?
Sophie Collins is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in public relations and double minoring in political science and communication studies. She is currently a writer and editor for Platform Magazine. You can connect with Sophie via LinkedIn.