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Taylor Swift’s surprise album announcement was divisive. She explains why she did it

Swift had a backup plan in case she didn't win a Grammy, too.
/ Source: TODAY

Taylor Swift won her 13th Grammy at the Feb. 4 ceremony and celebrated the moment with a "gift" for fans — the reveal of her upcoming album, "The Tortured Poets Department."

She said during her first "Eras Tour" concert of the year in Tokyo that she went into Grammys night with "a plan in (her) head."

"I thought, 'OK, if I'm lucky enough to win one thing tonight, I'm just going to do it," she said onstage. "I'm just going to announce my new album."

Swift's last non-rerecorded album, "Midnights," won best pop vocal album Feb. 4, prompting the announcement due to the significance of the number 13. The singer's birthday is Dec. 13, and she's long said it is her "lucky number."

The announcement immediately sparked conversation and debate, from dedicated Swifties posting exuberant videos of their live reactions, to critics comparing the move to announcing an "engagement at your wedding."

"taylor swift understand the importance of a gag like you HAVEEEEE to respect it like hijacking the grammys with an album announcement is so funny," one person on X.

"Saw some people saying Taylor shouldn’t announce it at thr Grammys because she’s going to ‘steal’ the attention off other artists. Please, that’s TAYLOR SWIFT. She’s going to steal your fav’s attention regardless of Reputation announcement or not," another wrote.

Some pointed out that even the Grammys crowd seemed non-plussed by the announcement, with Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo and Ed Sheeran shown on camera clapping with polite smiles. A noticeable hush also seemingly fell over the room, suggesting shock from the crowd.

Other commentators expressed a fresh bout of disappointment at the lack of news surrounding Swift's highly anticipated "Reputation" rerecording. Fans have put forth elaborate theories about the album's announcement date since the October release of "1989 (Taylor's Version)."

Hype for "Reputation" built before the ceremony. Swift's website appeared to be shut down, with an error code that read, “hneriergrd,” which in hindsight, unscrambled to “red herring."

"Taylor Swift would rather release a new album than let any of our theories be correct," one person wrote on X.

This wasn't the first time Swift has revealed a new project during an acceptance speech. The singer announced "Midnights" during the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards after winning video of the year for "All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)," which she also directed.

Swift ended up taking home two awards at the 2024 Grammys. "Midnights" won album of the year, making Swift the first artist to win the award four times.

Swift revealed during the Feb. 7 show in Tokyo that she also had a "backup plan" for the album reveal in case she didn't take home any new hardware.

"I was gonna do it tonight in Tokyo," she said. "But thanks to you and your support, I was lucky enough to win a Grammy and tell you about it onstage."

As to why she's continuing to produce new content amid the ongoing rerecording project (she's released four out of six anticipated albums) and her record-breaking "Eras Tour"? Swift's reasoning is simple.

“(People say) ‘Why do you make so many albums?’ I’m like, ‘Man, because I love it. I love it so much.’ I’m having fun, leave me alone,” Swift said.