Rachel Hunter couldn’t wait to play her new vinyl recording of Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now.”
After weeks of waiting for its arrival, Ms. Hunter placed the orchid-colored vinyl with Ms. Swift’s face centered on her record player, raised the needle and let it play. But instead of Ms. Swift’s catchy choruses, acoustic guitar and banjo strums, another woman’s voice emerged.
“I stop seeing people, stop looking at the flakes of flesh and dancing organisms,” an echoing voice said, with no music in the background.
Maybe there was something wrong with the speed, Ms. Hunter thought, or maybe it was one of Ms. Swift’s famous Easter eggs. She turned the record to the other side, but it only got weirder.
“The 70 billion people of the Earth, where are they hiding?” the scary voice of a man said repeatedly.
“It was a little scary. I was alone,” Mrs. Hunter recalled. “I thought, is this a horror movie? Because it didn’t feel like real life, especially when you’re expecting Taylor Swift.”
The record was not haunted. It was just British electronic music.
Universal Music Group, which represents Taylor Swift, and Above Board Distribution, a small British label, use the same printing house in France. But instead of pressing Ms. Swift’s “Speak Now” album, the plant accidentally pressed “Happy Land,” a compilation of British electronica from the 1990s, on the purple vinyl and put it on the “Speak Now” jacket.
The first song Mrs. Hunter heard was “True romance,” which features over 11 minutes of Thunderhead electronica, and the second was “Soul Vine,” a deep-house track by Cabaret Voltaire, one of the genre’s most influential bands.
That revelation came true only after Mrs. Hunter posted about her experience on TikTok: “Doesn’t anyone else’s “Speak Now” vinyl have Taylor Swift on it?” she asked. The video has been viewed more than four million times.
Now she’s fending off offers of $250 for the record. Her video sparked a long discussion Discogs, an online music database, among collectors hoping to find another copy. Cabaret Voltaire fans have reimagined the band’s vinyl sleeves with the names of Ms. Swift’s albums; one even mixed Ms. Swift’s song “Too good” with Cabaret Voltaire’s “Nag Nag Nag”.
In a statement, Universal said it was “aware that there are an extremely limited number of incorrectly pressed vinyl copies in circulation and has addressed the issue,” adding that if customers receive a misprinted vinyl they should contact their retailer.
Ms Hunter, who bought the album through Ms Swift’s official UK store, requested a new copy but did not receive it until Friday.
Dan Hill, Above Board’s managing director, said the label had printed several hundred “Happy Land” records, and he assumed the punch was accidentally left on the machine and used for the “Speak Now” records.
“What happened in the making of this record is like making a cake – they mixed the ingredients,” he said, adding that misprints happened from time to time, including with albums by Beyonce and The Beatles “but maybe not with this profile.”
Mr Hill believes there may be at least one more squeeze in the world like Ms Hunter’s. He looks as hard as the next record collector.
“This is a total Willy-Wonka-style golden ticket. If someone has one, these could be worth thousands,” he said. “But no one knows how far they are.”
Joe Muggs, British music writer who reviewed the reissue of “Happy Land” for the online magazine The Quietus earlier this spring, said the tracks came from a variety of genres, including heavy dub reggae, industrial and electronica, which come together to make “a very narcotic kind of sound” that was emblematic of the 1990s even years
“That’s what makes the music on this album really exciting,” he said, “its ability to startle even now when someone hears it outside.”
The Cabaret Voltaire song is one of the darker tracks, he said, but many of the songs had a “pop feel” and were “very funky; there’s a lot of melody in there.”
“The fact that TikTok will throw these random things out there leaves the window open for magic in terms of changing people’s tastes or starting little fires,” Mr Muggs said.
That’s exactly what Stephen Mallinder, founder of Cabaret Voltaire, hopes for. Cabaret Voltaire has always attracted new audiences, he said, but to be sparked by Ms. Swift’s audience “is a different kind of greatness.”
“It’s captured everyone’s imagination because it’s a culture clash of massive proportions,” Mr Mallinder said, adding, “If we can convert some and get them into electronic stuff, club stuff, that’s fine by me.”