It was no surprise that Taylor Swift’s folklore received five Grammy nominations yesterday (she has six in total with a nomination for her Cats song “Beautiful Ghosts”). The surprise release of folklore was a major moment for the music industry and became the first album of 2020 to sell a million copies, extending her million copy streak, and few artists these days get to that number. Taylor’s folklore also earned her the best reviews of her career – and I wonder if she has complicated feelings about this because as you know from so much previous commentary on this from music analysts, the gatekeepers of musical “taste” (who are often entrenched in their traditional perspectives) often point to guitar sounds as the standard for music excellence which, as we’ve seen, means that a lot of pop music gets excluded.
Taylor successfully transitioned from country to pop and with folklore seems to exploring what many have identified as the “alternative/indie” space and has been rewarded for it….in the “pop” categories, as the Grammys nominated her for Best Pop Solo, Best Pop Duo, and Best Pop Vocal Album. And, as we’ve seen in the past with Taylor, she’s excellent at Grammys campaigning. During 1989’s run, she held listening sessions for Recording Academy members, walking them through the process of writing and recording her album, and making the case for why she would eventually go to win, for the second time, the final Grammy on Grammy night: Album of the Year.
Now that we’re in pandemic times though, this is not possible. But she’s found a way around it – earlier this week, a day before the Grammy nominations, Taylor made the announcement:
Well itâ€™s 11/24 and 24-11=13 so Iâ€™ve got an announcement ðŸ¤“ You havenâ€™t seen this film before âœ¨ folklore: the long pond studio sessions will be out tonight at midnight PST on @DisneyPlus! #folkloreOnDisneyPlus pic.twitter.com/BTWSRM0yaI— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 24, 2020
folklore: the long pond studio sessions will feature every track on the album with its backstory, streaming on Disney+ in time for American Thanksgiving and for Academy voters to enjoy as they’re considering their votes. This is perfect timing for her. It’s outstanding strategy. And if we’re going to get petty about it, she’s up against her nemesis Scooter Braun’s client in three categories: both Taylor and Justin Bieber have been nominated in Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Those wins would be extra sweet… especially if she chases them by following them up with the release of the new recordings of her masters.