Taylor Swift, the pop icon who influences technology

Taylor Swift, the pop icon who influences technology
Taylor Swift, the pop icon who influences technology

On April 19, Taylor Swift released her eleventh album Tortured Poets Department, which breaks all records. She already had to her credit that of the most streamed album on Spotify in 24 hours, her albums Midnights And 1989 now being in second and third place respectively. She is currently the first artist to occupy the top 14 spots on the Billboard Hot 100, after becoming the first to occupy the top ten spots in 2022 with her previous album. On April 2, Taylor Swift also entered the Forbes billionaires ranking solely thanks to her music, which is exceptional for an artist. His tour Eras continues and she will be in France from May 9 to 12 for four concerts at Paris La Défense Arena.

Decryption of Eras Tour by Taylor Swift.

Absolute record holder for albums ranked No. 1, Taylor Swift is not only a popular and creative singer: she is a committed and activist artist who fights to change certain bad practices of tech companies. She is also an inventor who revolutionizes the music industry and creates a new relationship with her audience. His ability to be in tune with society and technology has contributed to his exceptional success. This is undoubtedly what led to his designation as personality of the year 2023 by the magazine Times.

The love-hate for streaming platforms

Taylor Swift does not hesitate to use her notoriety and her influence to establish a balance of power with digital giants, film studios, and music professionals.

If her latest album is the first in the world to reach 300 million streams in a single day, Taylor Swift has not always had good relationships with music platforms, especially free ones. At the end of 2014, Taylor Swift removed her entire catalog from Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon Music and Tidal, to demonstrate her dissatisfaction with the level of artist remuneration. She will not return until the beginning of 2018.

However, music consumption was, and still is, essentially free via YouTube or SoundCloud, not to mention piracy. Although her decision to boycott deprives her of millions of dollars in annual income, she accepts it and explains that she defends young artists for whom earning $0.00029 per listen is unacceptable. In a forum for the Wall Street Journalshe denounces the too low value given to music by streaming services.

Greater transparency on copyright and certain new rules such as the two-week delay before new titles are accessible, as well as listening constraints for non-paying subscribers have contributed to Taylor Swift’s return to these platforms. The singer’s struggle will therefore have favored the emergence of a fairer streaming model. In 2023, Taylor Swift became Spotify’s Global Artist of the Year with over 26 billion streams on the platform.

Taylor Swift is the most streamed artist on Spotify in 2023.

At the launch of Apple Music in 2015, Taylor Swift announced that she would refuse to have her album 1989 be accessible on the streaming platform which had planned a free three-month trial during which intellectual property rights would not be paid to performers, authors, composers and producers. Following her open letter on Tumblr where she very clearly said “We are not asking you for free iPhones. Don’t ask us to provide you with our music without compensation,” Apple reversed its decision and decided to pay royalties during the trial period. Taylor Swift will then become the platform’s ambassador.

Technological innovation at the heart of concerts

Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ is the highest-grossing tour of all time, having already grossed over $1 billion. The three-and-a-half hour show, which brings together around forty titles and requires 50 trucks, even caused a 2.3 magnitude earthquake in Seattle. Its very elaborate scenography consists of a giant screen and three stages with mobile platforms connected by a ramp, all covered with screens to generate visual effects. Added to this are projectors, lasers, flamethrowers, smoke cannons, fireworks… in a technological escalation.

Taylor Swift creates images associated with her music in the crowd thanks to bracelets distributed to spectators. PixMob’s LED technology has also been used by several artists in 2022 such as Coldplay (“Music of the Spheres World Tour”), Lady Gaga (“Chromatica Ball”), Imagine Dragons (“Mercury World Tour”), The Weeknd (” After Hours til Dawn Tour”) and Bad Bunny (“The World’s Hottest Tour”). As early as 2015, for her “1989 World Tour”, Taylor Swift was one of the first to use these visual effects, already very popular in K-pop. Since then, she has systematically integrated them into her concerts, with new features on each tour.

How do the LED bracelets used at Taylor Swift concerts work?

The device relies on radio frequencies, infrared signals or Bluetooth to transmit colors to the bracelets which form dynamic images in the audience without using geolocation. The audience therefore becomes an extension of the show of which they are co-creators for an even more interactive experience. As a pioneer in this use of LED bracelets, Taylor Swift largely influenced other artists who subsequently adopted it, just like the NBA for basketball matches and the NHL for hockey matches.

Taylor Swift used facial recognition – permitted in all states except Illinois – during her US concerts to protect her from stalkers. Spectators pass through kiosks that are able to verify their identity in less than a second. In addition to the security dimension, algorithmic video surveillance makes it possible to establish statistics on the profile of concert spectators. Demographic data is collected and used for marketing purposes. Of course, this use raises many ethical questions, even if these are private events. Despite certain threats, facial recognition remains prohibited in France, including during the next Olympic Games.

For the film of her tour, Taylor Swift used LA Drones, a company specializing in aerial shots of events. The dynamics and aesthetics of the shots are breathtaking and have promoted the success of the film, shown in cinemas in around a hundred countries to offer fans who would not have been able to attend live a hyper-immersive show.

Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) – Official Trailer | Disney+

Taylor Swift also innovated by distributing the film herself in partnership with the AMC cinema chain, without going through a studio as is customary. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is the highest-grossing filmed concert ever released in cinemas. This film breaks AMC’s 24-hour ticket sales record in its 103-year history. The film was also screened at Tech Interactive, renamed “Swift Interactive” for the occasion, a dome-shaped cinema with an 840 square meter wraparound screen and 13,000 watts of digital surround sound to be as close as possible to real conditions. of the concert.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

The “swifties” (as the singer’s fans call themselves) are helping to accelerate the adoption of new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. For more than a decade, Taylor Swift has relied on technological innovations to change the way we consume music and in particular to stimulate the sale of physical objects in the face of digital domination.

As early as 2012, Taylor Swift’s official application used augmented reality to allow those who purchased her album Red to obtain exclusive content in 3D. This type of interactive experience delights fans who feel privileged, modern and complicit with the star. Their level of commitment and loyalty is therefore significantly higher.

In 2014, for the album 1989, Taylor Swift has partnered with American Express to launch the Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience app. Using their smartphone, the “swifties” are taken into a virtual world replica of the setting of the music video for the song “Blank Space”, where they can interact with characters and objects that represent memories and reveal photos and stories.

Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience, a 360° exploration of a virtual world.

For her “Reputation” tour in 2018, Taylor Swift offered her fans another application in partnership with Glu, The Swift Lifealso based on augmented reality, to give them access to personalized filters, games associated with each song, and virtual tours behind the scenes.

In 2022, for the album Midnights, Taylor Swift is partnering with Snapchat and the company BLNK to develop augmented reality lenses that project “swifties” to London or New York in order to live an experience based on the artist’s imagery. All these innovations allow Taylor Swift to give more originality and value to physical albums, CDs or vinyls, and therefore to significantly increase sales. In 2023, Taylor Swift received the Innovation Award at the iHeartRadio Awards for her continued contribution to the music industry.

An influencer marketing model

Taylor Swift is a textbook case of cohesive multi-channel communication that leverages a large number of platforms and technologies combined to deliver an image made to appear as authentic as possible. Taylor Swift’s career has grown very quickly, relying on a perfect mastery of social networks and the gradual consolidation of an intimate relationship with her community of fans.

She develops powerful storytelling to captivate her audience, transmit committed messages, cultivate her originality and build her legend. An iconic star, it continually adapts to new technological trends and even anticipates certain developments to stay at the forefront of innovation. She constantly plays with the codes of pop culture and with her image to create mystery and frenzy around her projects.

Taylor Swift also uses social media to spread activist discourse regarding diversity, inclusion, equality, and environmental protection, without fear of facing controversy. She unites her community around these shared values, which translates into seamless mobilization. However, his commitment has made him the target of numerous fake news and conspiracy theories. The “swifties” and their pop icon could well [jouer un rôle décisif dans les prochaines élections présidentielles]https://theconversation.com/2024-taylors-version-taylor-swift-et-les-elections-americaines-224015)

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