When Did Taylor Swift Start Making ‘The Tortured Poets Department?’

At a 2024 Grammy Awards full of moments, Taylor Swift had perhaps the biggest one. While accepting her Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, she surprised the world by announcing The Tortured Poets Department, her next album. She described the news as “a secret that I have been keeping from you for the last two years,” which raises the question:

When Did Taylor Swift Start Making The Tortured Poets Department?

Based on what Swift said, it looks like the answer is about two years ago. She went into more detail, though, at the first show in her current run of The Eras Tour concerts in Tokyo. As Billboard reports, she told the audience:

“I’ve been working on Tortured Poets since right after I turned in Midnights. You turn in albums months in advance.

I’ve been working on it for about two years. I kept working on it throughout the US tour and when it was perfect — in my opinion, when it’s good enough for you — I finished it, and I am so, so excited that soon, you’ll get to hear it. Soon, we’ll get to experience that together.”

According to the book How To Make It In The New Music Business: Third Edition, an album should be mastered at least six months before its release date. Given that Swift is a more popular artist than most, though, she can likely get away with not being quite that early, as any new project from her would presumably be made a priority in the production process over other works.

For the sake of simplicity, though, let’s say Swift did have Midnights completed and turned in half a year before its release. The album came out on October 21, 2022, so according to Swift’s timeline and the above estimate, Swift may have started working on The Tortured Poets Department around April 2022, which is indeed about two years before present day.