Taylor Swift surprised fans when she announced her new album Folklore will be released on July 24th. The sudden announcement quickly became a trending topic as the songstress shared the news for the Lover follow up. With no lead single, the album will feature 16 brand new tracks which include a collaboration with Bon Iver. Other collaborators include Jack Antonoff, Bryce Dessner, and William Bower.
Swift shared the news with a few words by saying: “Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen”.
Surprise 🤗 Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my 8th studio album, folklore; an entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. Pre-order at https://t.co/zSHpnhUlLb pic.twitter.com/4ZVGy4l23b— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 23, 2020
While she claims the release wasn’t planned, the timing of the project seems quite coincidental. Last week Billboard shared the news that they will no longer count merchandise and ticket bundles on the Billboard 200, Hot 100, and other album and song charts. The rules are expected to come into effect next week. Although Taylor is a massive album seller, as she is the only artist to have four albums debut at No. 1 with over 1 Million units, the release of Folklore is somewhat calculated.
Taylor Swift has decided to release her album with 8 deluxe CDs, 8 vinyl albums, as well as bundling the project with cassettes, merchandise, iPhone cases, popsockets, and lithographs. With over THIRTY different bundles, Taylor Swift is aiming to score the top debut week of the year just after Juice WRLD’s posthumous release Legends Never Die debuted at No. 1 with sales just shy of 500k units.
In 2020 alone, the likes of The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, and Kenny Chesney all charted at the top with tour bundles on the album charts, while 6IX9INE, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande scored Hot 100 debuts with song bundles. According to Billboard, the new bundle rules is being put into effect to address the rise in number one debuts, and to “level the playing field for all artists”.
Twitter users have questioned Taylor Swift’s intentions to release her “surprise” album right before the rules will be implemented.