How I Cut A Licensing Deal With Taylor Swift

by | Oct 28, 2022

I remember it like it was yesterday. At noon, I left for lunch. James, my office manager, stayed in the office to answer the phone.

When I came back from lunch, James said, “Guess who just called!”

“Who?”

“Scott Swift,” he said. 

“Who is Scott Swift?” I replied. 

“Taylor Swift’s dad!”

“Who’s Taylor Swift?”

In my defense, this was a few years before she became extremely famous. She was on top of the country charts at only 18 years old. Clearly, I didn’t listen to country.

I quickly called Scott back.

He had seen our “movie magic” guitar picks on the counter of his local gas station before heading to work, and he was intrigued. 

These Hot Picks were made out of a lenticular lens, which meant that when you moved them, you saw 13 frames of action.

I was amazed at how easy it was to talk to Scott Swift. (At the time, he was a stockbroker in Nashville.)

Soon we became friends.

He wanted to put a series of images of Taylor on our lenticular picks so that when you moved the pick back and forth, she was strumming the guitar and singing.

We cut the licensing deal easily and then we were off and running.

We began selling these guitar picks in Walmart, 7-11, and gas stations!

My family and I were invited to meet Taylor and her mother at her concert in Sacramento at Arco Arena. She was opening for Rascal Flatts.

We spent an hour with Taylor and her mother in her million-dollar trailer. She was so polite and very kind. 

A true entrepreneur at heart, she loved these picks because she knew the merchandise was extremely important to her success.

To my surprise, quickly my son Jonathan asked Taylor to be his date at prom.

I will write my answer on this calendar, she replied. 

For someone who was becoming so popular, it was truly amazing that she spent so much time with us.

I will never forget it! Even the local newspaper picked up the story. Jon received calls from other kids wanting Taylor’s contact information.

Of course, prom never happened — but what a great experience it was for everyone.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. You create your own luck by being in the game.
  2. Try to be kind to everyone, it’s one of the biggest gifts you can give.

Thanks for reading,

Stephen Key

inventRight CoFounder