Taylor Swift Accused of Stealing Her Latest Album Cover Artwork

Side-by-side comparison of Taylor Swift's Folklore and Ihsahn's Telemark album covers.
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Side-by-side comparison of Taylor Swift's Folklore and Ihsahn's Telemark album covers.
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Side-by-side comparison of Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Ihsahn’s Telemark album covers (photo: Ihsahn IG)

Some are calling out Taylor Swift for allegedly lifting the artwork on her newly released Folklore album from the cover art of Telemark, an EP by Norwegian black metal musician Ihsahn.

The controversy surrounding Taylor Swift and Folklore’s artwork appears to have started a few days back, when David Thiérrée, an artist who specializes in creating album covers for metal bands, posted a side-by-side comparison of the covers to Instagram.

Thiérrée says that he crafted the Telemark cover; the EP itself dropped in February of this year. “I could have done it for her, probably for a cheaper price than what she paid,” the cover-art professional wrote in part.

Ihsahn then addressed the matter, reposting the side-by-side comparison of the images and writing: “So, anyone check out the new @taylorswift yet? Personally I like the design,” followed by a pair of emojis. Both of the (admittedly similar) covers employ a grayscale color scheme and depict wooded areas with a number of trees, though the trees adorning Folklore’s front are fuller, leaves-wise. Also, the Folklore cover features Taylor, gazing up at what one would assume is a tree and/or the sky, whereas the Telemark cover is free of figures.

At the time of this writing, neither Taylor Swift nor Beth Garrabrant, the photographer who captured the pictures for Folklore, had commented publicly on the allegations stemming from Telemark’s cover art. However, fans are taking to social media to offer their opinions on the subject.

“And it’s literally just a black and white picture of a forest. There’s [sic] countless albums with a cover exactly like that,” opined a possible “Swiftie.”

Another commenter, weighing in on Instagram, voiced a firmly worded view to the contrary: “My my, Swifties saying in the comments that it is just black and white forest… I guess for them Mona Lisa is just a woman and Sunflowers are just some plants. They are as deep as the music of their idol.”

Artwork controversy aside, Folklore has turned in an impressive commercial performance thus far. Two days ago, Digital Music News reported that Swift’s eighth studio album had sold 1.3 million copies during its first 24 hours. The surprise project, which Swift unveiled shortly before its release, also broke Spotify’s single-day streaming record for a female artist, with over 80 million plays. It’s also the largest Spotify debut to this point in 2020.

Apple Music subscribers, for their part, played the 16-song work more than 35 million times, elevating it to the top of the day’s most-streamed pop albums chart.

4 Responses

  1. Bunsen

    good grief – thats like claiming copyright infringement for a song in 4/4 time that goes from a I chord to IV chord.

    • Burt

      Bingo! Sure, there are similarities, but the artwork is not the same. Also, nobody is going to mistakenly pick up this Taylor Swift album while perusing the Norwegian metal category online or in-store at the bins/racks. It’s just not going to happen.

  2. Dis Guys

    Well damn… I guess I’ve stolen that artwork too ask I have taken a black and white photo of a forest as well. Shame on me…

  3. Generation Ignorant

    I haste this generation. They are such a bunch of stupid idiots. They could actually imagine they imagined the greyed out black and white shot of a forest. They both stole the image from me, or maybe from 1000000 other photographers from the last 150 years.