Taylor Swift has trademarked a number of phrases related to her album “1989,” so you can’t use them anywhere. And you certainly can’t print them to sell on merchandise.
It was first reported by Vox that pop princess and professional businesswoman Swift had carefully selected a number of phrases including “Party Like It’s 1989,” “This Sick Beat,” “Nice to Meet You. Where You Been?” and, ambitiously, “Cause We Never Go Out Of Style” to be trademarked by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Here’s a screenshot containing just a few things you can’t now do with the words “This Sick Beat.”
Everything from “public appearances” and “clothing” to “ornaments” is written off under the phrase “This Sick Beat” – contained within the first single to Swift’s album 1989 “Shake It Off.”
So, if you had a grand business plan to start mass producing kitchen linens, pot holders, aprons, hosiery or disposable dinnerware emblazoned with the words “Nice To Meet You. Where You Been?” there’s bad news. It’s not going to happen if Taylor Swift and her people have anything to do with it.
That’s unless you actually want to wind up in a courtroom, and maybe perform whole renditions of her songs to see how angry her team gets.
This might all feel a bit excessive from Swift, but it shows how vital merchandising is for musicians today. Plenty of them, although perhaps not Swift, struggle to make much cash from online streaming or album sales, and have to seek alternative revenue streams. Merchandising is a king of these sources and if you can defend against any other chancer out there trying to make a quick buck off the back of your name, you should probably try to.
Swift is most likely the beneficiary of legal advice here, people trying to cover every possible leakage of cash. It’s a sensible precaution to a degree, particularly for moderately successful bands or one hit wonders. For an artist of Swift’s global profile, it hints at consultants trying to justify retainers by demonstrating their arguable value. It’s tough to imagine that cost savings will ever be precisely, or even roughly quantifiable.
Sympathies must also go to merchandisers of Prince. If someone makes an innocent mistake with his lyrics “Party Like It’s 1999” when imprinting it onto a set of forks, it could change their life forever.
Regardless, now these key phrases are official trademarks and nobody else can ever profit from her work or her likeness. Years from now, when she is all feuded out, Taylor Swift will remain the only person lawfully permitted to spend her quiet evenings carving “Cause We Never Go Out Of Style” into a bar of soap.