Over a period of two days, on Feb. 15 and 16, a Nashville-based company called TAS Rights Management, LLC filed nine separate trademarks for the word "Swifties," according to publicly available documents, including one that covers "a website featuring non-downloadable audio recordings [and] video recordings."
So, is Taylor Alison Swift getting into the streaming music business? Not so fast.
The story, first reported by TMZ, that Swift would be launching her own competitor to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music is a juicy one, particularly given Swift's past history butting heads -- and then working repeatedly -- with Apple and withholding her music from Spotify. But a source confirmed to Billboard that she would not be launching a streaming service, and a closer look at the trademarks reveals a different, more probable, angle for the singer.
One trademark in particular seems to indicate the direction in which Swift will be taking the Swifties brand: computer software for mobile devices, which can be used for streaming and downloading audio, video and live recordings and performances, as well as for computer and mobile gaming technology. Another covers non-downloadable live music concerts, interviews, audio recordings, videos, articles and blogs, in addition to "Fan club services" and "Arranging and conducting contests and sweepstakes."
The majority of the trademarks concern retail services and merchandise, allowing Swift to brand musical instruments (guitars, picks, drumsticks), jewelry/accessories (including purses, bags, phone cases and sunglasses), men's and women's clothing and all sorts of notebooks, stationary and writing materials with the Swifties name. One also specifically provides for online retail store services, suggesting a digital store of some sort.
That's right; it looks like a personalized fan club app complete with exclusive merchandise, audio/video/live performances and the possibility of a mobile game of some sort is on the horizon for Swift's fans, rather than any kind of large-scale streaming service. A rep for the singer declined to comment to Billboard.
Probably most notable for die-hard Swift fans is another specific trademark, one which covers "educational services" including "classes, conferences, coaching, lectures, camps, retreats, seminars, educational summits, workshops, self-guided classes and self-guided online courses of instruction." A Taylor Swift songwriting camp? It's possible, though of course far from confirmed; the trademarks merely give Swift the legal cover to launch an event like that under the Swifties name if she chooses to do so in the future.
Last February, Swift partnered with mobile gaming company Glu Mobile, which created apps for Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, although nothing seems to have emerged from that partnership. She also has a partnership with AT&T, which promised an original 13-chapter "video experience" called Taylor Swift Now last November.
What does Swift have up her sleeve for fans in the coming year? It's fair to speculate. But with these trademarks secured, there could be plenty of Swifties material on the way in the near future.