The Weekly Rant: branding, disparities, growing pains and The Agency

(Source: Taylor Swift)
(Source: Taylor Swift)

I’ll keep it short, Taylor Nation.

And if you believe that… I’ve got some bridges to sell you. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy that realized a long time ago he can’t please everyone, we’re doing a bit of a shift in focus. While during the past eras I would try not to call attention to any negative press and focus just on the happy stuff, nowadays I’m going in a more critical direction. I still shy away of the scandal and rumor, but Taylor doesn’t get a free pass.

I know that with fame, the Sparkly Dressed has become the more sought after brand to promote a product. However, just because Taylor endorses Diet Coke doesn’t mean that you or me are suddenly fans of the beverage. On the other hand, I do like her sponsoring things like Keds which seem to have a positive and empowering image for young girls. In the end, it’s up to you to choose regardless of who is on the poster. You’ll notice that I tend to dodge certain news, and in that aspect I’ve become more of a curator. That’s the reason for the lack of news regarding her upcoming new perfume. Although I might revise that if there’s a video of her attached to the promotion.

I know the Enchantress is taking steps in a more mature direction embracing feminism as both a label and an ideology. We can thank Lena Dunham for exposing her to the real definition. However, she will soon have to address the apparent contradiction of her support for every female and her calling out another pop artist on allegedly taking her tour members. Although both things are not necessarily contradictory the fact that the other party is another female artist does seem like a disparity. Don’t worry, I’m not going into my¬†Words Like Knives¬†rant again. I don’t believe Taylor necessarily harbors ill feelings,¬†but the backstory is a bit of a thorn. One thing that I’ve recently considered is that the song might just turn out to be cathartic in nature. In other words, there’s a chance that “Bad Blood” is a way for Taylor to let go of any grudges in the same style¬†that “Innocent” did. If so, I do welcome the song. Of course, to be known as the angriest song in the album doesn’t necessarily bode well. We shall see.

Taylor Swift is both the name of a person and the copyrighted name of a brand. If you think this is selling out, I have some heartbreaking news for you. Every single one of the artists you see on a CD or in concert is a brand or aspiring to become one. Everyone of them is trying to achieve the status where their face and their persona can endorse products. Marketing is a part of the game, and some will say the one of the most lucrative parts of the music business. When you market a product, they pay you for using it and showing it off while they at the same time promote your face and your name. You probably have heard Brad Paisley congratulating Taylor Swift about becoming a product – she is. Guess what, so is Brad. So is Carrie. So is Katy. So is Miley. So is Madonna. So was Michael Jackson. So is every single artist that has her or his name in lights.

But with growth comes growing pains… and people that you work with change. It’s a marvel that The Agency stayed relatively unchanged as long¬†as it did. The touring band, which name has never been official, has gone from a backup band to becoming part of the main feature. But after the¬†Speak Now tour, the band has a more background role. Although during the¬†Red tour they¬†had their shining moments like David Cook and Mike Meadows’s instrumental before “Treacherous”, the focus is now more than ever on Taylor. I’ll always wonder if someone in her management perceived The Agency was getting too much exposure (between you and me, I’ll always fear that was my fault – but I am not that well known).

Now we have two more missing members, lead guitarist Grant Mickelson and fiddle player and background vocalist Caitlin Evanson. Grant has been touring and playing with Taylor for so long that it’s heart breaking to think his contract would not be renewed. Alas, he’s been absent so far and apparently has the time to give guitar lessons via Skype. Caitlin has been unusually quiet online, and hardly posts anything anymore. As it has been pointed out, both of them have said nothing about 1989 or the last single.

I’m not going to speculate here, we will simply never know the story of what happened. Even if you think you know, and even if you have some private insight in the matter please don’t share it with me. Insider information is¬†impossible to confirm, it may be biased and it can’t be printed. I will miss seeing Grant and Caitlin playing along the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar. I hope they remain active in the music field and the future holds great things for both. When that happens, I will make sure to post about it. You can read more about them in their own pages,¬†Agency Profile: Grant Mickelson¬†and¬†Agency Profile: Caitlin Evanson.

The X-Factor Australia’s official Twitter account confirmed that Taylor will be performing on the show’s grand finale in October. Taylor will probably do a lightning trip to Australia to promote her album 1989 out on October 27. The Sparkly Dressed is nominated for Best Female and Best Look at the 2014 MTV EMA on November 9. You can vote here.

Coming up on the Calendar!


5 thoughts on “The Weekly Rant: branding, disparities, growing pains and The Agency

  1. Being a feminist doesn’t preclude you from having differences of opinion or quarrels with other women, you’re still a human being with all the faults and foibles that go with that. If someone does you wrong and you usually channel that into a song, not doing so because the person was a female and not a male would be kinda anti-feminist.

    1. Yes. However, I do wish she’d never told any details about the back story of the Bad Blood track. It doesn’t have anything to do with her being a feminist or not. I’m just concerned it will be used against her.

  2. 100% agree on never having revealed those details, I wish she’d just bitten her tongue and smiled instead of going into the back story. I’m also concerned that it may possibly overshadow what she has achieved with 1989 as the media do love to blow a rice grain into an iceberg.

    I’m with you on missing members of The Agency, I’m hoping the dip into the purely pop world is just another detour in her long musical journey and that she can reconnect with old friends on future projects.

  3. Has there been confirmation that Grant and Caitlin will not participate in 1989?
    I see that there twitter links have been removed.
    Is there more information?

    1. There’s never a confirmation when members leave the Agency. I’ll be the first to hope they come back to the full tour but it doesn’t seem likely. If they reappear I’ll be more than happy to return them back to ‘active service’.

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