Taylor Swift, Platinum Party Of One : The Record Taylor Swift's latest album, 1989, sold 1.287 million copies its first week alone, making it the first album released in 2014 to go platinum. The last musician to go platinum in a week? Taylor Swift.
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Taylor Swift, Platinum Party Of One

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Taylor Swift, Platinum Party Of One

Taylor Swift, Platinum Party Of One

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In all of last night's election results, you may have missed this news. More than one million people now have voted with their wallets for Taylor Swift.


Billboard affirmed last night that her album "1989" went Platinum, meaning it sold more than a million copies. Here we are in November, and it is the only album released this year to go Platinum.

INSKEEP: Industry sales have been largely dismal until this moment. NPR's Sam Sanders reports on what that means for the industry.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: There are really three keys to Taylor Swift's success, and they're things that a lot of artists are already doing, but Taylor Swift is just doing them way better than anyone else. Step one - be a promotion machine.


DAVID LETTERMAN: Welcome back to the program, the lovely, delightful Taylor Swift.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Here she is right now - Taylor Swift with the number-one smash single.


JIMMY KIMMEL: With the song "Shake It Off," Taylor Swift.

SANDERS: That's Swift on "Letterman," "Good Morning America" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." She also went on "The View" and "The Voice" and Ryan Seacrest's radio show and Sirius to promote her new album.


TAYLOR SWIFT: (Singing) I stay out too late - got nothing in my brain.

SANDERS: And last week, Swift got herself named New York City's tourism ambassador to the world. Former Billboard editor Bill Werde says no one can push an album like Taylor Swift.

BILL WERDE: Taylor Swift is a promoting fantasy. She wants to be everywhere. She wants to get up early in the morning, go to bed late at night and work, work, work.

SANDERS: OK, step two - connect with your fans. Really connect with them online. Billboard editor Joe Levy says Swift has been doing this for years.

JOE LEVY: You go back to when she was 15 years old and she was the one lecturing her record company about MySpace. Now it's Twitter and Tumblr.

SANDERS: Swift responds to fans on Twitter all the time. She retweets photos of them buying her albums, which only makes other fans by more of her albums. Swift even used Twitter to invite fans to her house for a private 1989 listening party. They all, of course, tweeted about it, only increasing the hype. Her strategy is so good, it's gotten a name.

LEVY: The hashtag is #taylorlurking. It could be #taylorstalking.

SANDERS: The actual hashtag is #taylurking, but you get the idea. All right, step three - make fans have to buy your product. Swift spoke with NPR last week and shared how she does it.

SWIFT: There has to be an incentive to go to a store, buy a CD - we've done an exclusive at Target that has three extra songs. It has three songwriting voice memos from my cell phone. I have five sets of 13 Polaroids from the album photo shoot that are in an envelope in the CD.

SANDERS: And Swift's label is making it harder to stream her music. This week, Big Machine Label Group pulled all but one of her songs from the streaming service Spotify. The thought seems to be if it's harder to stream, you're more likely to buy. There are also rumors that Big Machine might be up for sale soon. If stopping streaming can increase Swift's album sales, it will also increase Big Machine's value to investors. But Bill Werde says the Spotify move might not be good for the industry.

WERDE: You're talking about undercutting one of the few growing revenue streams in the recorded music business, and that's streaming music. With downloads falling and with CD's falling, if streaming music isn't the answer, it's not really clear what the answer is.

SANDERS: Taylor Swift might not be the answer either. As straightforward as her strategy is, you kind of have to be as good as Swift is at pulling it off. And Billboard's Joe Levy thinks that will keep Swift's success from spreading.

LEVY: No. Her good week is not a sign of an upward trend for the record industry. Her good week is out of the ordinary. Her good week is some "Twilight Zone" stuff.

SANDERS: Some very, very lucrative "Twilight Zone" stuff. Sam Sanders, NPR News.

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