During the past year alone, it almost seemed like Taylor Swift covered the same amount of magazines as she had boyfriends (despite her conjecture that she’s only dated two guys in 2012.) Really, everywhere we looked, there she was on another cover, with a new tagline to make us want to read all about her love life, her BFFS, and whatever other bit of gossip editors deemed cover-worthy.
To refresh your memory: Swift covered Vogue last March, Glamour in November, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan in December, and Elle last month. Even highbrow culture glossy Vanity Fair wanted a piece of Swifty, as she appeared on its cover this month, talking about how she keeps a framed photo in her house of the Kanye West interruption heard round the world.
Well, Women’s Wear Daily is reporting that just because a big star like Taylor Swift appeared on a gazillion magazine covers, doesn’t mean she actually sold copies at newsstands, which really is any publication’s bottom line, isn’t it?
According to WWD‘s annual report, which collates data from the Alliance for Audited Media, sales of magazines with Swift on the cover failed to attract the same blockbuster numbers as her records.
For Vogue, Swift fell way short of both Lady Gaga—the magazine’s top seller last year—and Adele, the second-best seller.
For Glamour, Lauren Conrad and Victoria Beckham beat out Swift, as did Gwen Stefani on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar—not terribly surprising, despite the magazine’s recent habit of putting decidedly un-Bazaar girls like Swift and former Disney princess Selena Gomez on its covers.
In Cosmo‘s case, WWD points out that Swift had already been booked for the December cover when Joanna Coles came on as editor in chief, and Swift totally flopped making it the year’s weakest-selling issue (to put it in perspective: Swift was even outsold by one of the biggest un-Cosmo girls ever, Zooey Deschanel).
So why such a non-interest in Taylor Swift on newsstands, when her music is so ubiquitous and she regularly bags ad campaigns?
For starters, Swift isn’t exactly a woman of mystery. We all know who she dates, who she writes songs about, who’s songs she’s loving at the moment, who her Hollywood BFFs are, and almost everything else there is to know that a glossy might cover. Overexposure is a dubious thing for magazine sales.
Even Glamour’s editor in chief Cindi Leive agrees that perhaps Swift’s off-duty activities could be linked with folks’ resistance to buy her glossies. “There may have been a little hiccup for her right around the 1-D relationship,” she told WWD. “But it’s nothing a pro can’t come back from. I’d put money on her for the long run.”
Of course, it could also be the simple fact that Taylor’s fans want to hear her sing, not model clothes in a fashion magazine, and conversely, fashion magazine readers don’t really want to see a country-pop singer modeling clothes.
To read more—and to see which celebrities actually did sell magazines in 2012—head over to WWD now.