Taylor Swift, dominant pop artist and professional businesswoman, has trademarked a slew of phrases related to her October album 1989. These include but are not limited to “Party Like It’s 1989,” “This Sick Beat,” and “Nice to Meet You. Where You Been?”
Here’s a screenshot of the first of a few trademarks for the phrase “This Sick Beat” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Swift has trademarked everything from “public appearances” and “clothing” to “ornaments” under the phrase “This Sick Beat” which comes from the first single to her album 1989 “Shake it Off.”
Now, this might seem like overkill by Swift, but it’s an important insight into the way the merchandise business works for musicians. For many (not necessarily for Swift), album sales and streaming are no longer ways to make money as a career. One of the dominant income sources for many artists — whether they’re top sellers like Swift or tiny singer-songwriters — is merchandise sales. Selling T-shirts turns a profit, but not if anyone can make knock-offs and sell them out from under you.
It seems silly that an artist like Swift would trademark so many phrases on so many different platforms (bath soaps?), but what Swift is doing here is something every artist does — making sure that the only person who profits off of her work and likeness, is her.
Now that she owns the trademark, no one else can make T-shirts that say “This Sick Beat” and sell them outside of her stadium concerts without breaking the law. It’s a smart business move, even if it does seem a little bit silly.