A bit more than a week ago, Ryan Adams caused one of the biggest online-media sensations in recent memory (or since his own divorce, anyway) when he took to Twitter to declare that he’s been remaking Taylor Swift’s 1989 album in its entirety — including bonus cuts. At last report, he had just about hit the end of the track list. You can find a summary, with all the online samples released so far, here. I especially like the snippets of “Stay” and “Wildest Dreams.”
Give it a few more days for mixing and detail work, and the whole thing might be done and dusted by the end of this weekend. At which point, we can’t help but wonder: What’s next?
Swift reacted with immediate and enthusiastic endorsement of the project, so some sort of actual release seems likely. Options for that would range from a full-on “official” release with physical product (and think of the gatefold-cover possibilities for an old-school vinyl fetishist like Ryan) to simply giving the songs away online.
If Ryan does choose to release 1989 for real, with money changing hands, it’s easy to imagine the album being a left-field hit, since it hits a perfect sweet spot between Ryan’s rocker cool and Swift’s huge popularity (1989 has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S., a figure 10 times that of Ryan’s biggest seller, 2001’s Gold). I think there’s every chance DRA 1989 could exceed the 134,000 in U.S. sales of last year’s Ryan Adams — maybe by a lot. But I don’t think it would match the 400,000-plus in sales for Gold, or the 300,000-plus that 2000’s Heartbreaker sold.
UPDATE (8/18/2015): Getting close!
ADDENDUM (8/20/2015): Ryan is apparently not the only 1989 fan representing.