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TAYLOR MADE BIG MACHINE CORPORATE SWIFTNESS



It really is whether one considers marketing to be manipulative and, perhaps, seductive, or whether marketing has to be creative and compelling with a deft understanding of the customer?


Or maybe it’s all about being corporate and getting listed on the stock market?


It was something a couple of us were talking about after seeing a tsunami of content on our mobile phones last week on “The Tortured Poet’s Department”, the new product- is it really a music product?- from Taylor Swift. 



There’s really been nothing like it before and nothing has ever had this amount of dollars, massive support from Rolling Stone and Rob Sheffield, my favourite music writer with what was the Rock Bible, and technological backup behind it to reach so many millions with this product so quickly. 


A few weeks earlier, there was another humongous marketing campaign using the online world as its main thrust to launch the Beyoncé record “Captain Carter”. 



Of course, other than the new music, this Beyoncé product came with a teaser campaign comprising style, design, news of guest stars, promised covers of well known songs by artists like Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney and others and brought the leading Black music artist into the world of Country Music.

 

One knew that something big was being released as there was a teaser campaign with bombs going off to create interest in what was coming up.


Those who watched the Grammy Awards could not help seeing Beyoncé dressed all in white wearing a cowboy hat with cameras riveted to her despite Taylor Swift winning Record Of The Year. 



Frankly, I thought Miley Cyrus stole the show with her fabulous and spontaneous ‘live’ version of “Flowers”. Anyway…



With Swift about to start her record breaking global Eras Tour and a very public relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce co-starring in everything going on, the stage was set.



This tied in with the singer flying just in time for Superbowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers and to show support for her man.



Corny? 


An opportunist photo opp? 



Depends how cynical one is.


On the new record is the poem/song “The Alchemy” that, if anyone needed more information, gives a further insight into the couple’s relationship, something which has always been Taylor Swift’s modus operandi by being the romantic storyteller about all the loves and breakups in her thirty five years.


Too much information?


Depends. 


With Beyoncé and her team on one side, here is a clash of the titans between the most powerful and influential artists in the world to dominate the world of entertainment- and even the other worlds that could be helped with a rub off effect with an endorsement from them.



Think Biden or Trump wouldn’t want either Beyoncé or Taylor Swift on their teams? Maybe even Bill and Hills and Harry and Megan?


Of course, these are different times and music and everything else that goes with a song are no longer what they were.


The music and mission and vision of Motown, the Beatles, Dylan. the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell etc happened organically. 


Sure there were marketing and promotion people involved, but it wasn’t about creating monolithic corporate entities like the Golden Arches.


It always had to first and foremost be about and with the music.


MTV might have killed the radio star and made things more superficial and style driven whereas people like the Kardashians sold image and lifestyle over substance, but what we have now is the corporate world owning music.


Behind Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are global corporate machines ready for the stock market with its own crypto world that this time actually works.


Personally speaking, perhaps the one good thing to come out of all this is that these recent months have been so relentless in being seen to be bigger and bigger and more bombastic than anyone and anything else that things might have just been overdone. 


There really can be too much of a good thing and this could help lesser known artists and much smaller events where being savvy is needed. 


Perhaps getting back to being grounded and being realistic instead of floating in lah lah land and waffling hotcakes is what was and is needed?


It’s always dangerous when people either create the hype for those who buy into the hype without having seen the real monster at work gnawing through everything and how quickly things can fall apart.


These are no longer the days of Fifties pop idols who came and went when the Brycreem ran out and mop tops came into fashion along with all the various groups and one hit wonders.


Social media has created new objectives and supposedly more opportunities along with a much more addictive approach to the fame game that has duped many.



That’s why there are so many failed entrepreneurs and those who keep crashing into smoke and mirrors?


This is where many could have entered a very dangerous time when consequences are disregarded in the race to reach the unattainable.


Once this happens, or doesn’t happen, it’s about wanting more of another hit of something that probably doesn’t even exist. Not yet, anyway. 


The Swift Machine has changed what used to be known as marketing on its head.  



Those brands and industries trying to win over today’s “younger people” better go back to the drawing board and focus on the audience it has- and learn from whatever might happen next.


It’s all about trying to stay ahead without tripping over one’s self and looking out of step with reality.


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