Taylor Swift Takes On The Recession

After the dismal numbers of both 808's & Heartbreak and the ridiculously over-hyped Chinese Democracy in the week of Black Friday, all hopes that a big-name releases during the holidays could save the record industry fizzled away. Neither Kanye West or Axl Rose were the saviors of modern music sales that many had suspected them to be. With only two full weeks before Christmas, an unlikely 19 year old Pennsylvania-born country singer has stepped up to the plate and done what neither the "voice of our generation" or the "most heavily anticipated record in fifteen years" could do -- she's actually generating an increase of sales.

Taylor Swift released her sophomore effort, Fearless, on November 11. It opened at #1, selling 592,304 copies in its first week. Without any new debuts in the top ten this week, the record reclaimed the one spot with a 29% increase in sales. Hearing of any album that can create that kind of sales boost a month after its release is unheard of in this economic climate. It is now estimated that Fearless has shifted over 1.5 million copies, and that number will only increase as frantic fathers complete their last minute Christmas shopping for their 15 year old daughters.

Swift is proving that with cross-over appeal and the right demographic as your target audience, commercial success is still possible. As a country singer, she still commands the loyal red state record buyers, but her music isn't so twangy that it alienates teenage girls enamored with the likes of the Jonas Brothers and David Archuleta. In fact, her sound is reminiscent of singer-songwriters of years past such as Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton. This allows Swift to appeal to that teenage girl's parents and all of adult contemporary radio. As either the sole or co-writer all thirteen songs on the album, Swift not only demands respect as an artist, but she tells her listeners her deepest most intimate hopes and fears as if they were straight out of her diary ("Finally, somebody knows what I'm going through!" the said 15 year old sighs). That's bound to create a devoted fan base.

This Christmas, Fearless will be unstoppable. Swift has put together a winning formula that will land her in stockings across America and will generate her massive amounts of royalties in the process.


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