End Game: The music video drops

I have my buried hatchets bookmarked in Google Maps, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who gets up in the middle of the night to write rants and music video releases apparently, we think Taylor could’ve included more cities. Then again, Montreal is expecting heavy snow this weekend so perhaps it’s better Tay kept to the big city names.

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(Source: Taylor Swift via VEVO)

“End Game” features appearances and talent by Future and Ed Sheeran. The video is directed by Joseph Kahn. It’s really nice to see her and Ed collaborate again and based on the interaction between them you could tell some friendly banter was going on. The video has scenes filmed in Miami, Tokyo and London and feels the need to announce all those cities because… I’m not sure. It’s basically Taylor partying it up yet keeping it cozy with a group of friends. New York City is not included.

Watch on YouTube

Did you notice all the snake references on the video? The straws on the glasses are snake straws. She rides a motorcycle at some point dressed in a bodysuit that has a snakeskin print. At around the 3 minute mark she’s on top of a bar playing the old snake video game.

Does it look good? Yes. Does it tell a story? No, but let’s be honest neither did the song. It’s literally about big reputation – or simply put, fame. I will say this, she seems to be having fun and it never seems like she’s trying to stand out. She’s always just part of a group of friends, and I hope that mirrors her real life (although my big theory for this album is she’s no longer trying to share her life with the public).

Coming soon! The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also gets a nod for writing the Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

(Source: Taylor Swift VEVO via YouTube)

Tour Talk: New dates for reputation! A commentary on ticket sales.

Hello from Winterfell, Taylor Nation. I mean, Canada.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s been known to obtain tickets at the last minute, we’re glad there’s a few more concert dates. I was just hoping more spots would open in Canada (we don’t all live in Toronto, believe or not) and perhaps a few other nations around the world. Tickets for the new dates will go on sale January 31st at 10am local time (local time of the venue, of course).

  • May 11: Levi’s Stadium. Santa Clara, CA.
  • July 11: FedExField. Washington, DC.
  • July 13: Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia, PA.
  • July 22: MetLife Stadium. East Rutherford, NJ.
  • July 26: Gillette Stadium. Foxborough, MA.
  • August 31: U.S. Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, MN.
  • October 5: AT&T Stadium. Arlington, TX.

There will be a Taylor Swift Presale for fans. If you already have signed up for the Taylor Swift Tix (aka Ticketmaster Verified Fan), you are already in with higher priority. If you haven’t you’ll get a chance this Friday, January 5th when new registrations will open at 10am EST. The presale starts on January 23.

Now can we talk turkey? In case you haven’t realized, Taylor’s instant sold out concerts from previous tours had a unintentional assist. Scalpers and ticket resellers will grab as much as they could for resale. That means a lot of fans couldn’t get tickets and would try to grab them from resellers later. This means a sold-out concert wasn’t really packed until those tickets got resold.

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(Source: TaylorSwift.com)

The two new factors are the Ticketmaster Verified Fan system and the higher ticket prices. This has two consequences:

  1. It locks out non-fans from the presale period, meaning there’s no scalper/reseller buying large quantities of tickets through multiple accounts. Obviously, spots are more likely to be left behind.
  2. On general sale, the scalpers/resellers are not as keen to invest on buying lots of tickets with the higher price tag. Their investment would have to be higher and they can’t count on a high return unless they jack the price further up effectively turning away concert-goers.

This has an unwanted side effect. It’s harder to sell out a full concert – much harder. Fans that must deal with the high prices (this time from the official sites instead of the reseller sites) will usually wait to see what other options they have or to come up with the money.

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(Source: TaylorSwift.com)

Will it work? I can’t really say, but both Taylor Swift’s reputation stadium tour and Ticketmaster are banking on it.

My take? I don’t like this strategy too much. Before, there was a chance to grab a ticket for much less with the previous system, although it was hectic to accomplish. To top it off, the reputation STADIUM Tour is only doing the large stadium venues and major cities. Smaller cities and towns will have fans that can’t reach both the higher prices AND budget travel expenses. The chances of opening up a leg for smaller venues are now close to nonexistent.

I also can’t say I have a better solution though. The bigger the venue, the most effective the tour concerts become. They are seen by a lot more people at once and more than likely production values will be much more impressive. I won’t deny that the price might be worth it, specially since this time the chunk taken by the scalper/reseller margin should be much less. A lot of fans might cave and take the plunge. Some might just have to rely on what online video leaks out.

Coming up next year! The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift has two nominations. No, no, no, chill! Taylor’s reputation is not eligible yet. It will be eligible for 2019’s (wow that is a long time to wait). She is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also gets a nod for writing the Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

(Sources: TaylorSwift.com)

Happy 28th Birthday, Taylor Swift!

She’s 28, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s getting too old to use the same excuse, we were no spring chicken when we started. The fandom has grown older with the Sparkly Dressed. Or perhaps we have stayed young because of her.

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(Source: Lily Aldridge via Instagram)

I can’t resist posting this picture of Taylor, Lily Aldridge’s daughter Dixie and… Meredith?? That cat can be very temperamental. Sometimes not even Tay can hold her. Guess Mer makes exceptions.

Back in the day, she was a young role model for young girls and they knew it. Nowadays, she’s still an artist followed by the young and not-so-young. Some of those fans have graduated, some have gotten married, a few have kids. Even the ones of us that started older have had our lives changed in one way or another. Now after some health issues and a mortgage, we’re not that lively or that financially free to follow along but we’re still there in some shape or form.

I have to say one of the best realizations that I’ve had is that you’re never a fan alone, and you shouldn’t. It takes one event, one concert, one coincidence for you to meet another fan and connect. It happens a lot faster if you go into social media.

And then there’s the lot of us who use her for inspiration. Mine is writing. Hence, exhibit A… Err… You’re looking at it. It’s this blog.

Keep reading. I’ll keep writing.

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Coming up next year! The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift has two nominations. No, no, no, chill! Taylor’s reputation is not eligible yet. It will be eligible for 2019’s (wow that is a long time to wait). She is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also gets a nod for writing the Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Z100 Jingle Ball, Capital FM Jingle Bell BallComing up in the Calendar:

  • December 13: Jumping to the pool from the balcony…
  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

(Sources: Instagram)

The Silence Breakers: Taylor Swift on her most important role

I think you should speak now.

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There is a movement, one that tries to reach all levels and all social spheres of humanity where powerful leaders, entrepreneurs, producers and yes, even politicians, are held accountable for sexual harassment, abuse and rape.

Abusing women (and yes, even men) is nothing new, what is new is the flood of allegations that are bringing down the corrupt people in positions of power. The “weinsteins of the world” as they are now being called.

I want to keep this short, because you I really want you to read it all from the people who experienced it. Suffice to say that there are no more excuses to believe you can be neutral or indifferent about this one more second. As victims speak out, the people standing on the sidelines must listen and remember never to allow behaviour like this in our places of work or any place in which we see it happen.

You can read these amazing stories on TIME magazine.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • December 5-8: The pre-sale starts for the first US Stadium Tours from Ticketmaster.
  • December 7, 2017: Taylor Swift plays at B96’s Jingle Bash at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
  • December 13: Jumping to the pool from the balcony…

(Sources: TIME)

Look what you made me write. An editorial.

I’ve got a list of names too, Taylor Nation. Tomatoes, peppers… Wait, this is my grocery list. Never mind.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s committed to write about things a little bit deeper, we’re doing one of those critiques that not everyone enjoys. First of all, I don’t think that you do any favors as a fan when you accept everything blindly. I prefer to think that a smart fan is the one loyal because they like their artists (I don’t like to use the word “idols”, sorry it makes me cringe) with flaws and all.

That being said, the following critique is not on Taylor Swift as a person. I don’t know her as a person, I’ve only known her as an artist. I might take a stab at thinking I can guess her frame of mind when she wrote a particular song, but that’s as close as I think anybody can get. The only think I can criticize is her work, her craft. It will still be my opinion, and therefore it might miss the target for a mile. That being said, this is on her musical persona, not her personal identity (I might have to explain that one a bit further).

“Look What You Made Me Do” is the first single from her album Reputation. Unfortunately, its biggest flaw is repetition – a rather constant cliche in pop music to repeat the same lyric over a familiar beat so it can be easily learned. The beat in the chorus is a re-sampling from Right Said Fred’s “I’m too sexy”. Honestly, that doesn’t concern me that much as the monotone repetition. That’s not an accident, it will probably end up as club music with a quick remix. Taylor may not frequent clubs as much, but Kanye, Kim and Katy might have a cheeky DJ play this song in their faces the next time they step into one.

The choice of the phrase for the chorus and the track’s title have been pointed out in this Bustle article as being part of domestic abuse speech. Yes, but you are taking the phrase out of context here. We allow other songs to exist which glorify violence in context so I find selective criticism a bit askew. Lots of songs use suggestively charged titles that out of context mean trouble just to get our attention. This one is not even one of those situations. That being said, if you want to use this as a mechanism to bring awareness about domestic abuse, it’s a worthy cause and I’m not going to stop you.

I actually have more problems with the other repetitive phrase in the bridge which is in context: I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me. There’s anxiety and depression in that phrase. Be careful repeating it – don’t let that seep in. I know what I’m talking about here. For the same reason, I don’t like Taylor laughing at her own death.

That’s Taylor Swift the musical persona, the one in the video as a corpse, as a jewel-bathing millionaire, as bike gang leader and as Snake Queen. I think Taylor is taking some actual distance between herself and her image. That allows her to be extravagant with the way she presents herself artistically but she’s keeping her private persona in private from now on.

By the way, there is a list of names. Every single artist that tours several times ends up with a list. It’s got the names of every stalker fan (no, not you – real stalkers) that has been judged as a risk (a bit too cuckoo for coco puffs if you get my drift) to attend or be too close to Taylor. It’s the kind of people that security keeps an eye on when they show up. For the record, I don’t think I’m in there, but I know I’ve been recognized.

Finally, here’s the other thing about both video and lyrics that I’m not quite a fan of – it makes the song a little too meme-friendly. Now, memes are everyone’s favorite thing. Viral phrases and selected situations re-played and parodied over for everyone’s amusement. This might be Old-Man-Swift talking (and to be real, that’s true for the whole article), but it does seem to unintentionally endorse gossip and scandal reporting. In other words, I fear this will reward gossip lovers everywhere. It will also encourage fans to follow gossip from now on.

I believe that Taylor might have given in too much here. Even the video is a little too TMZ-friendly for my taste. The song itself has too many hints towards you-know-whom. I really would’ve preferred she’d taken the high road instead. I think that’s the reason this song sounds like it does. It’s a club song with a message to someone. It’s as close as a diss track as she’s ever made (and I hope she doesn’t have more). I’ve got high hopes for the rest of the tracks because overall this one is not in my favorite list.

In the end, I just hope there’s something in Reputation that is not meta. I prefer non-club music, not explicit made for Pop Radio and more lyrically complex that a simple phrase played over and over. To put in other album’s terms, I think LWYMMD is the “Bad Blood”, the “Better Than Revenge” song of the album. Now I want to hear the “All Too Well”, the “Clean” equivalents. Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, they won’t get to be singles. We’ll have to discover them when the full album drops.

Coming up in the Calendar:

November

  • November 10: Reputation, the new album by Taylor Swift is released!