When you’re the biggest star on the planet, you don’t have to say a word to get millions of fans talking.
Taylor Swift proved that today when she deleted social posts and profile images across Instagram (where she has 102 million followers), Twitter (85.4 million) and Facebook (75 million). Both TaylorSwift.com and Swift’s Tumblr pages have been removed and replaced by black pages.
Fans quickly took the social-media blackout as a sign that Swift will soon announce her forthcoming sixth album. #TS6IsComing quickly began trending worldwide on Twitter, and astute superfans noted that today marks the three-year anniversary of Swift’s announcement of 1989, her genre-crossing, Grammy Album of the Year winning, six-times-Platinum album from 2014.
A Q4 album release from Swift is a virtual given, so its eventual announcement is not unexpected. However, insatiable Swift fans, known as #Swifties, have been clamoring for any sign that new music from the pop star is on its way. The removal of her site and socials adds fuel to the fire that an announcement is imminent. Given Swift’s history, said announcement can be expected to be meticulously thought-out, well-crafted and perfectly on-brand from a marketing standpoint. In fact, it’s likely the blackout somehow ties in to the album’s theme. (“Blank Space” 2.0, anyone?)
Swift had remained largely absent from social media in 2017 before the blackout. She’s only performed live once this year (at DirecTV’s pre-Super Bowl show), but has dominated headlines nonstop with her return to streaming services, sexual assault legal victory, and 50 Shades Darker collaboration, among dozens of smaller stories (including that photo that had the world questioning everything.)
When Swift does come back online, it will be interesting to see if and how the trademarks she filed for earlier this year come into play. I speculated in March (and continue to believe) that the superstar will soon launch an official fanclub—a lucrative move she’s refrained from in the past. Not that Swift is hurting for cash: FORBES estimates her net worth at $280 million.
Brittany Hodak is co-founder of ZinePak, an entertainment agency that helps brands and celebrities convert consumers into superfans.