Taylor Swift’s Unique Fan Challenge for ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ Hits a Snag – What Went Wrong?

US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs onstage on the first night of her “Eras Tour” at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 31, 2023. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP) (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Taylor Swift enthusiasts faced a virtual challenge on Tuesday as they embarked on a digital scavenger hunt orchestrated by the popular artist to unveil the tracklist for her upcoming album “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” Unfortunately, this adventure was marred by technical issues.

Swift had first revealed her intention to re-record “1989” during a performance in Los Angeles a month ago. She also promised that this new version, known as “Taylor’s Version,” would feature previously unreleased songs. In her previous re-recordings, Swift had included vault songs as an added treat for her dedicated fans who streamed or purchased her albums.

The unveiling of vault tracks for “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was done by Swift through a video with scrambled letters.

On Tuesday, Google announced a special twist to the reveal. The search giant incorporated a series of 89 puzzles into its search function, allowing fans to piece together the names of the new songs.

Google’s announcement stated, “You’ll be assisting Swifties from around the world in discovering the hidden gems as everyone collectively tackles 33 million puzzles. That’s the game plan for revealing the vault track titles!”

Some international fans noticed a small blue vault icon appearing when they searched for “Taylor Swift” on Saturday, creating anticipation as Swifties eagerly awaited the big reveal.

The puzzle-solving journey began with the vault displaying a jumbled version of Swift’s upcoming album title. As participants entered answers into the search bar, more puzzles were unveiled.

However, many fans, including a reporter from NBC News, encountered difficulties as they attempted to search for answers, with no progress made.

Some fans expressed their frustration at being unable to participate or were disappointed by the substantial number of puzzle completions required, especially when the game was not functioning correctly.

One fan on social media commented, “I feel like Taylor constantly forgets how big she is. 33 million is a lot, especially when you consider that the vault isn’t working properly. Google needs to distinguish between those playing the game and those genuinely searching for sunglasses, which I believe is what’s causing all these issues.”

Another fan humorously remarked, “We definitely won’t reach 33 million before the album comes out with this silly vault not working.”

Google acknowledged the issues in a post on social media late Tuesday, saying, “Swifties, the vault is stuck! But don’t worry, there are no empty spaces inside. We are currently in our troubleshooting phase and will soon resolve the problems.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Swift had not provided a comment as of Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Swift shared a video clip of a blue vault opening on her Instagram account. She captioned the video with the phrase, “You can let me know when the search is over… if the thrill was worth the effort.”

Following this post, searches for “Taylor Swift” surged and remained high for several hours, according to Google Trends data. Swift experienced her highest level of search interest on Google at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, just two hours after her post, before gradually tapering off.

The release date for “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is scheduled for October 27, exactly nine years after the original album’s debut.

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