Taylor Swift Has Released 34 Different Versions of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Across Vinyl, CDs, Cassettes

Taylor Swift variations
  • Save

Taylor Swift variations
  • Save
Photo Credit: Emil Kalibradov

Taylor Swift has released nearly three dozen variants of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ as she hungrily prolongs her chart domination, much to the chagrin of other female artists.

Taylor Swift might just be addicted to releasing different versions of her (decidedly lengthy) 11th album, The Tortured Poets Department — or maybe she’s just addicted to winning. To date, there are 34 versions of the same album available for Swifties to devour, making critics wonder if Taylor’s devoted fans are indeed the real tortured poets here. But it’s not just about the easy money; Swift seems hellbent on maintaining her crown atop the charts, swatting away the competition with each new version she releases.

The album has held strong at the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 for nine consecutive weeks — to say nothing of the continued star power of her record-shattering Eras Tour — so what could the “Cruel Summer” songstress possibly be worried about? Yet to keep the album charting, Swift has dropped multiple variants of the record since its debut on April 19, and critics have noted that many of those variants have released just in time to block another singer from taking her crown.

Swift is no stranger to this tactic, and neither is the broader music industry. But it’s no coincidence that Taylor has released these variants to coincide with incoming threats for that coveted No. 1 spot — namely Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Charli XCX. With her sheer fan power alone, Swift might not even need the extra variants to secure that win week after week, but the releases serve as an insurance policy, if nothing else.

And there will always be fans that eat up the additional content, even if many of those album variants only include a single bonus track—sometimes for an extremely limited window of availability. Many of those editions are budget-friendly at $5.99 for the digital release and $7.99 for the CDs, but that quickly adds up for fans determined to own every version.

On Swift’s website, you can score a TTPD vinyl LP with the “Anthology” edition bonus tracks (31 total songs) for $34.99, while the CD version costs $12.99. The standard TTPD digital release is $11.99, with the “Anthology” version costing $14.99. Some of the “standard” editions include an acoustic version of an additional song, and then there are also “Collectors Edition Deluxe” options for many of those variants. Some of the variants include special voice memos from Swift.

Though her fans are quick to come to her defense, asserting that Swift had planned all these variants in advance and couldn’t possibly have known when another artist was going to release an album, the online storm continues to brew. “People find a reason to maybe make it about her,” says one devoted fan. “They just tend to gravitate towards her because she’s everywhere.”

Billie Eilish was quick to gravitate towards criticizing the “wasteful” practice of releasing so many physical variants, although she insisted she wasn’t specifically targeting Swift. And Swifties will be quick to note that Eilish also has released variants of her music — though Billie makes a point to use recycled materials as much as possible.

So will there be even more TTPD variants? Undoubtedly, yes, but whether they’ll be released to coincide with yet another female artist’s new album remains to be seen.