19 Apr 2024

Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department: Fans react as new album is apparently leaked

1:02 pm on 19 April 2024

By Noor Nanji, BBC News

US singer Taylor Swift performs on stage during a concert as part of her Eras World Tour in Sydney on February 23, 2024. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- / “The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by DAVID GRAY has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner:  [Adding RESTRICTIONS]  Please immediately use the restrictions on all your online services and make the necessary changes in your servers.  If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.”

US singer Taylor Swift performs on stage during a concert as part of her Eras World Tour in Sydney on 23 February 2024. Photo: AFP / DAVID GRAY

Taylor Swift fans have been sent into something of a frenzy after her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, appears to have leaked online early.

Many people have shared the tracks on social media, with some saying they came from a Google Drive link containing the whole 17-song list.

While some Swifties have dived straight in, others insisted true fans will wait for the official release on Friday (4pm New Zealand time).

The BBC has approached Swift's representatives for comment.

The singer announced the existence of her 11th studio album at February's Grammy Awards. It is her first collection of entirely new material since October 2022's Midnights.

On X, formerly Twitter, some fans were quick to say they would not be indulging in the music ahead of schedule; while others flooded the site with false links to "bury" the apparent leak and stop people finding it.

"Raise your hand if you're an ACTUAL Taylor Swift fan and aren't listening," wrote one social media user.

"People need to understand that this isn't just about being a fan. It's about respecting others of their hard work!," wrote another.

"She and her team [have] planned and worked so meticulously for this album release, don't disrespect and ruin it for others as well."

Another said they wanted to wait to listen to the whole album on Friday "and really get the first listen experience".

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 18: A Taylor Swift mural is seen outside Grimey's new & preloved music and books on April 18, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee.   Jason Kempin/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Jason Kempin / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

A Taylor Swift mural is seen outside Grimey's new & preloved music and books on 18 April 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Jason Kempin / Getty Images via AFP

Other fans speculated the tracks could be fakes generated by artificial intelligence, although some "AI" tracks that were shared online turned out to be older, less well-known Swift songs.

It would not be the first time that the star has had a run-in with AI. In January, X blocked searches for "Taylor Swift" after explicit AI-generated images of the singer began circulating on the site.

The arrival of a new album has been hotly anticipated by her fan community as it means there will be new material to add to the star's blockbuster Eras tour, which hits Europe this summer.

Midnights, which featured the singles 'Anti-Hero', 'Bejeweled' and 'Karma', also leaked online ahead of its drop date. But the leak did not hurt Swift's commercial prospects, and the album sold 1.6 million copies in its first week in the US.

It went on to win album of the year at the Grammys, making Swift the first person to win the award four times.

Earlier this month, Swift joined Elon Musk as ranking among the world's wealthiest people, according to a new rich list.

The pop star entered the Forbes World's Billionaires List for the first time with US$1.1billion (NZD$1.865b), along with Sam Altman, creator of the AI chatbot ChatGPT on US$1b.


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