New billionaire Taylor corners the cassette market - Kevin Buckle

Taylor Swift at the Grammy Awards in February (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)Taylor Swift at the Grammy Awards in February (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
Taylor Swift at the Grammy Awards in February (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
It seems impossible to keep Taylor Swift out of the news and this week was no exception when it was announced by Forbes that she was one of 141 new billionaires in the world.

There are now 2,781 people with fortunes exceeding $1 billion which is roughly £800 million with Bernard Arnault, the majority owner of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, top of the Forbes list with $233bn followed by Elon Musk in second place with $195bn.

It was therefore ironic that at the same time as I was reading this I was making my order for the new Taylor Swift album, The Tortured Poets Department, and discovered that shops would not be able to order the cassette version of the album as that would only be available from Taylor’s own website.

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Certainly the cassette will be the least important of the formats but as I have discovered from selling tapes by the artist Mitski who also appeals to Swifties, the fans of Taylor Swift, there are a good number of fans who, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, have adopted the format as their medium of choice.

Taylor of course has recently been involved with Record Store Day so it was a little odd when she announced her album would be released the day before this year’s celebration directly competing with it in a way any other artist would avoid.

Clearly she doesn’t need the money so why she has chosen to keep the cassette format to herself I have no idea, but sadly it will leave some disappointed fans as I have already been asked if I was getting copies.

In other news Rough Trade, who are maybe not quite the force they used to be but are still one of the most important record shops in the UK, announced the opening date for their latest shop in Liverpool and it comes as no surprise that it is two days before Record Store Day.

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Liverpool will always of course be known for Probe Records and though both the owners have died recently the shop continues and will hopefully continue for many years to come.

While this will be Rough Trade’s largest store yet, that does include a cafe, bar and venue. I have to be honest we get great feedback at Avalanche for going down a different route in terms of additions to selling music by quite simply offering a great range of t-shirts, posters, prints and cards and also working with a small number of artists and photographers that fit into that brief.

While older customers recognise the mix as one from their youth, younger customers used to the films and toys at HMV genuinely see it as a brand new concept much to the amusement of parents who come in with their children.

We have recently added books to what we have on offer simply because they are supplied by companies we deal with already, and unlike previous years in which I might see the odd Nick Cave book we could sell there is now a great range for us covering all areas of music.

Should a Taylor Swift book ever appear I’m not sure how Swifties would react as for most it would be a format even more obscure than the cassette.