It’s four days until Taylor Swift’s Reputation comes out, and the singer herself has not said a word to the public about it. There has been no in-depth magazine profile of the once omnipresent star. No magazine covers. No radio station call-ins. No live stream of her addressing the world from a talk-show set—though, Tuesday, she posted some short videos letting the world know that a group of handpicked fans recently listened to the album in Swift’s own home.
Maybe the journalism is still to come, under embargo until the release date. But it seems increasingly likely that she was serious with this recent Instagram caption (and possible lyrical preview): “There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.” It was paired with an image of Swift’s Reputation tie-in magazine, on sale at Target with her new album on Friday. She is closing in, cloistering herself with her diehards on one side of a wall and everyone else on the other.
Call it vertical integration. With Ticketmaster, she set up a loyalty system to ensure that her tour tickets make it to her most devoted listeners—and that her most devoted listeners, in turn, spend an outsized amount of money this album cycle. With her magazine and terse social-media missives—a reversal from the artful oversharing she had once been known for—she is her own publishing industry. By plastering her face on UPS trucks nationwide, she even looks like the means of distribution. Her cheekily villainous new persona in song underscores the secretive-mogul approach.