Taylor Swift with Ross Matthews (a.k.a. Ross The Intern) at an album release event for her new record Red that turned an NYC showroom into a Taylor Swift pop-up store. (Photo: Andrew Hampp)
Taylor Swift vividly recalls the day she told her management and label teams that she would be naming her latest album, Red.
"They all just shook their heads and said, 'Target's gonna love this.'"
And as Swift aptly prophesized, Target loved Red so much the retailer not only signed up to release a deluxe edition of the album with six exclusive tracks (three new songs, three alternate versions of Red songs), complete with a pre-release TV ad campaign starring Swift valued at upwards of $7 million in media spending; but Target also gave the album the all-star treatment at an album-release event for fans Monday night, turning a New York showroom into a Taylor Swift pop-up store with 13 mini-showrooms showcasing many of Swift's brand partners -- an Elizabeth Arden perfume bar for Wonderstruck, a CoverGirl makeup salon, a Sony CyberShot photobooth and an American Greetings e-card room (not to mention a place to snack on pizza, a nod to her promotion with Papa John's.)
Another reason Target loves Red? The album sold more than 160,000 copies on Monday alone, according to sources, and officially shattered the company's one-day sales record (previously held by Swift's Speak Now, which sold 78,000 copies on release day in 2011). Just as significantly, the vast majority of those copies were for the deluxe edition, which means Swift fans made Target a destination despite being able to buy the album at midnight on iTunes and at 1,600 Walgreens and through other nontraditional retail outlets like Papa John's and Starbucks.
"The industry's changed a lot [since 2010], we honestly didn't know what to expect," John Butcher, Target's VP of entertainment, told Backbeat moments after high-fiving Red's executive producer (and Big Machine CEO) Scott Borchetta. "We gave her a focal feature with a branded store that generated a lot of attention, which we didn't do last time. We bought big because we had high expectations."
Borchetta was riding high on the Red release-day excitement, sharing highlights of a phone call between Swift and Justin Bieber earlier that day. "He told her he thinks '[I Knew You Were] Trouble' is the best song ever," Borchetta said, "and that he's going to make it his next [lip sync] video." The last time Bieber and friends lip-synced to a song, it was a little ditty called "Call Me Maybe" that some people may have heard. "It didn't hurt Carly Rae," said Borchetta of Billboard's No.1 song of the summer.
The Elizabeth Arden perfume bar for Wonderstruck was one of 13 mini-showrooms within the
Taylor Swift pop-up store. (Photo: Andrew Hamp)
Swift, for her part, told fans and the event's host Ross Matthews (a.k.a. Ross The Intern; "Chelsea Lately," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno") that she was excited to see how the songs on Red connect with fans. "Everything depends on this week. It determines what songs we play on tour, what videos we shoot," she said, noting that she wrote 30 to 35 songs for the 16-track album. "That's why it's amazing to partner with Target and find a place for these three extra songs."
Swift shared the stories behind the three bonus cuts, including "Come Back... Be Here," one of two tracks co-written with Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Adele, Dixie Chicks) that was inspired by "distance separating you and a person, which is something I face constantly." Another new track, "The Moment I Knew," is a nearly real-time recollection of "the worst birthday party I ever had. My boyfriend decided not to show up, and then we broke up." Matthews tried not to stifle laughter at Swift's sob story, feeding off the stadium-rock energy of the song's chorus, to which Swift reassured him, "It's gonna be fine. I'll be OK."
The Covergirl make-up bar (Photo: Andrew Hampp)