This is how Taylor Swift stops her backup dancers from leaking her music

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Kayleigh Dray
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Taylor Swift has revealed how she keeps her new songs secret, even when she’s filming a music video – and it’s honestly pretty genius.

Last Friday (9 Feb), Taylor Swift released some behind-the-scenes footage from the End Game music video (the latest off her new album, Reputation).

And, in doing so, she revealed the answer to one of the internet’s biggest questions: how does Swift prevent her music from being leaked to the public before she’s ready to do so?

Well, the answer is simple: Swift doesn’t let anybody listen to her new songs unless they really, truly, desperately need to. This same rule applies to her backup dancers, too: in fact, when filming End Game, she had them dance without any music playing whatsoever – they just had to rely on their sheer talent and imagination to make things work.

“I commend [my dancers] fully,” Swift explains in the video. “Because they’ve been pretending there’s music playing when there’s not.”

The singer adds that, while she listens to her song via tiny earpieces on the set of her music videos, her dancers tend to use a “click track”.

“It’s incredibly hard work.”

Of course, Swift’s dancers shouldn’t feel as if they’re being singled out: in fact, her BFF and musical collaborator Ed Sheeran – who worked on End Game with Swift – recently revealed that she wouldn’t let him listen to the track himself, either.

Instead, she had someone fly out to bring a locked briefcase to Sheeran to play him the song on an iPad and then lock it back up and fly it back to her. Where she presumably then locked it in a safe inside another safe inside another safe and then stationed an armed guard on the door, just in case.

Speaking to Just Jared last year, the Shape of You singer said: “She would never send new songs, no. I hear them but it has to be with her…

“I remember when I did a song with her for her album, I was in San Francisco, and they sent someone with a locked briefcase with an iPad and one song on it, and they flew to San Francisco, and played the song I’ve done with her.”

“And they asked if I like it and I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and then they took it back.”

Sheeran added matter-of-factly: “That’s how I hear it.”

It’s worth noting that Swift has always been thorough about security measures, as she’s long had a fear of wire-tapping and hidden cameras.

She previously told Capital FM that she’s always concerned someone is bugging a room she’s in, or “videoing or recording her … [t]hat’s one of my paranoias” (eerily foreshadowing what later happened with Kanye West).

And she has taken serious measures to ensure these things don’t happen: in 2014, Rolling Stone reported that when Swift moved into her $15 million New York apartment, she also paid $5 million for a unit across the hall to house her security team.

“Don’t even get me started on wiretaps,” she said at the time. “It’s not a good thing for me to talk about socially. I freak out.”

Considering that stalkers have shown up on the premises of her home twice this year alone, we think Swift’s fears are well justified. And, of course, there’s no denying that her methods – extreme as they are – work: when’s the last time you heard a leaked Taylor Swift song?


Image: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.