Taylor Swift might put forth her 1989 follow-up as soon as this year.
The music industry is speculating a new release from Swift following the news she'll headline the Formula One Grand Prix Post-Race show on October 23. She'll follow in Elton John's footsteps, who served as 2015's super star performance at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The timing is funny, considering Swift's F1 performance will take place 11 months following the closing date of her wildly successful 1989 world tour and two years since the album debuted atop the charts. As Spin points out, Swift released her previous effort, Red, almost exactly four years to the day ahead of the F1 show – if her two-year timeline is anything to go by we can expect a new studio album from Swift in the fourth quarter.
Adding fuel to the fire, Swift dropped by the iHeartMedia Summit last month. The event is an opportunity for artists to show thanks to iHeart, who play a heavy hand in promoting mainstream artists on one of their many Top 40 radio stations around the country, as well as giving the artist a chance to play their new music. Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea made appearances there which lead to album announcements not long afterward. Swift's appearance may have been a public gesture to show respect for those who helped her maintain superstar status, or perhaps she's leaving her name fresh in their minds because a new release is imminent.
Circuit of the Americas (COTA) president Bobby Epstein told The Guardian regarding Swift's upcoming headlining performance, “we had to make it financially irresistible to [Swift], but it is our fifth-year celebration and we have reason to celebrate and sometimes you spend a little bit on special occasions.”
He adds, “It will be a one-off show. Her only show in 2016. We think we can bring in 100,000 new people and put on the biggest show."