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Taylor Swift's clock obsession is good for business

Amanda Krause   

Taylor Swift's clock obsession is good for business
  • Taylor Swift has intertwined time with her recent musical projects, starting with "Midnights."
  • Now fans can't get enough of analog clocks.

There's much more to being a Taylor Swift fan than memorizing new albums and spending thousands of dollars on concert tickets.

Swifties must also be on high alert whenever the musician nods to old-school clocks.

Since releasing "Midnights" in 2022 and "The Tortured Poets Department" this year, Swift has been noticeably intertwining time into her musical work.

But the Grammy-winning superstar hasn't gone digital — even in a world of iPhones, Apple Watches, and AI.

Instead, the musician has almost exclusively utilized analog technology — a choice that's made a noticeable impact on businesses and her younger fans.

Telling time with Taylor Swift

Time has always held a prominent place in Swift's art.

Lyrically, she began singing about meaningful moments on her debut album. You might remember lyrics like "2 a.m. riding in your truck" from the fan-favorite track "Mary's Song (Oh My My My)."

But Swift introduced time as a theme more heavily in 2022 and 2023 following the release of her 10th studio album.

During the "Midnights" era, Swift used clock motifs throughout the "Bejeweled" music video, prominently featured them in her massive Eras Tour, and included some as (still-undecoded) Easter eggs, or hidden clues, in her "Karma" and "Lavender Haze" music videos.

Then, when she was nominated for six Grammys this year, Swift arrived on the event's red carpet wearing a diamond-encrusted watch custom-made into a choker.

The Lorraine Schwartz timepiece was a playful nod to her nominated work and a subtle reference to a new project she'd announce that night: her 11th studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department."

But then Swift wore the necklace again, this time while out with friends in Notting Hill on Tuesday night. And fans think the "Anti-Hero" singer is up to something because of it.

@alexantonides WINDS IN THE EAST!!!! #fyp #foryou #swifttok #erastour #tstheerastour #london #taylorswift #reputationtaylorsversion #liverpooltstheerastour #ttpd @Taylor Swift @Taylor Nation ♬ original sound - Alex Antonides

Is she more powerful than Father Time? Maybe.

Swiftie or not, you've probably noticed that most things Swift touches turn to gold.

She brought major attention to small Kansas City businesses during the latest NFL season, and her tour has boosted economies around the globe.

And that's not to mention Swift's impact on the rebirth of vinyl records.

Forbes reported that "1989 (Taylor's Version)" was the highest-selling vinyl of 2023 with 1.4 million copies, and "The Tortured Poets Department" broke the record for largest vinyl sales — more than 700,000 copies — in a single week.

These feats partially result from a popular tactic in which artists release multiple vinyl variants of their albums to boost revenue. Swift has been leading the charge.

Naturally, Swift has also impacted the world of telling time.

Look no further than entrepreneur Victoria P., who created her watch-focused jewelry brand, Joiedevika, two years ago. She first sold her handmade, time-telling necklaces at Los Angeles flea markets. As her designs became more popular, her business expanded to Etsy, Depop, and a personal website.

Speaking with Business Insider, Victoria said friends texted her when they saw Swift wearing a watch necklace at the 2024 Grammys. And instantly, orders came pouring in.

"I Googled 'watch necklace Taylor Swift,' and I found necklaces from my Etsy shop," she said.

Victoria noted that her online shops have received a big boost in recent months, with her Etsy sales this year already surpassing her total for 2023.

"I have a lot of customers asking me for watch necklaces to wear to Taylor Swift parties and events. It's very interesting," she told BI.

And she's not the only one. Eugena Lee of Eugena's Jewelry told BI that her watch necklaces have been especially popular this year. Avery Borders also said she'd noticed the "Taylor Swift Effect" on her small business, Mundus Magica Creations.

"I've seen a few whispers of steampunk elements in the fashion industry lately," Borders told BI. "But Taylor wearing a watch necklace has been super cool. I've seen a boost in sales, a boost in interest, and a boost in inspiration on my end."

Swift has also made some cash on clock-themed merchandise. She previously sold a "Folklore"-themed clock and a "Lover"-themed watch as official merchandise, and four of the "Midnights" vinyl variants she released created a clock when displayed together.

Brittany Cheshire, a 31-year-old Swiftie from Arizona, spent $120 on the four records. And no, she doesn't own a record player.

"I was moving into my new house and I was excited to decorate the walls in my office," she told BI. "I needed a clock, and what's better than a Taylor one?"

She also purchased a $50 display set from Swift's official merchandise website, which allows fans to mount the albums on a wall and turn them into functional clocks.

"I totally understand that it's four of the same album. But for me, it's more about the artwork," Cheshire added. "I have all four variants of 'The Tortured Poets Department' on my wall, too. The photos, the composition, everything is beautiful. I'm not just a crazy super Swiftie who has to have everything she puts out."

@taylorswift It’s a clock   #TSmidnighTS #SwiftTok ♬ Its a clock - Taylor Swift

But maybe more importantly, Swift has inadvertently helped young people learn to read analog clocks — something they've long been accused of not knowing how to do, even by Jimmy Kimmel.

"That's it! I'm learning to tell time! Gimme!" one TikToker commented on a video Swift posted about her clock vinyl variants.

"From teaching about spelling to telling the time, it's official! Taylor Swift is the best teacher you could ever ask for," another fan wrote on X.

So what exactly is Swift saying by wearing her sparkling watch necklace again?

Dedicated fans are scouring the internet for answers, with one woman saying she emailed a journalist to request that they check high-resolution photos to see what numbers Swift had her timepiece necklace set to.

The answer remains unclear, and only time — no pun intended — will tell. But Swifties are determined to beat the clock.

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