For the second time in less than a year, Taylor Swift sent signed copies of one of her albums to indie record stores across the country, including Long Beach’s very own Fingerprints.
The record store received a shipment of signed copies of Swift’s “evermore,” her ninth studio album, which dropped in mid-December. The album was dropped less than five months after the pop-star’s eighth release, “Folklore,” as a thematic sequel.
“To have so many marquee artists come forward to help draw attention to their local record shops is super gratifying,” Fingerprints owner Rand Foster said, adding that he was notified they were coming but was not told when and was sworn to secrecy.
Swift has diversified who she works with on her albums, which Foster said is probably playing a role in her push into indie stores over the Targets and Walmarts of the world. Both “Folklore” and “evermore” feature duets with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and both albums were produced by Jack Antonoff of the Bleachers and FUN, who has recorded a live album at the Long Beach record store.
“This all speaks to the role local indie shops play as launching pads for so many incredible bands and players,” Foster said. “It says a lot that Taylor’s taken notice.”
Foster said the signed copies are flying fast, now half sold out in about two hours.
‘Evermore’ reached number one in nine countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Portugal and Australia. It opened at the top of the Billboard 200, making Swift the first woman in U.S. history to top the chart with eight consecutive releases.
At just 140 days, “evermore” and “Folklore” broke the Guinness World Record for shortest gap between two number-one albums by a female artist. Olivia Newton-John was the previous record holder with “If You Love Me Let Me Know” and “Have You Never Been Mellow,” which were released 154 days apart.
Through years of declining record sales, artists and their representatives have become more creative to drive numbers up, including surprise drops of specialty items like signed albums or giving out free CDs with the purchase of concert tickets—a move utilized by numerous major artists, including Metallica and Of Monsters And Men.
Physical and digital album sales in the U.S. dropped to 102 million units in 2020 compared to 501 million in 2007, according to data from media company MRC.
“Taylor is so big and is usually focused on retailers who move hundreds of thousands of copies of her records,” Foster said, “so for an artist of her stature to see that stores like Fingerprints contribute to the larger picture, and to act on it, is pleasantly surprising.”
Fingerprints is located at 420 E. 4th St.