Resurrection: So, it’s the 18th of August 2017, and there is a black out of all of Taylor Swifts social media accounts – no Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, there is no sign of any previous albums, singles, tours or promotion. Even her official website was greeted with a blackout. All gone. Is the old Taylor dead?
As you may well be aware, Taylor Swift started teasing fans on her social media accounts just 3 days after the blackout with 10 second cryptic reptile videos, building the images up daily, to eventually form a snake. Next thing we know there is a single dropping, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ on the 24th August, with the now infamous lyric ‘’I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now” “Why?” “Oh, ’cause she’s dead!’’ Alongside this, and her single ‘Ready For It’ there are constant reminders in her music videos of a resurrection of a new Taylor. But what is this all for? Is Taylor Swift just following the same marketing model of ‘Good Girl-Gone Bad’ as so many artists have done before her? (Rihanna, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears) to name a few, or is the death of the ‘old Taylor’ and resurrection of the ‘New Taylor’ just marketing genius? Her fans who would have idolised her as a country star are now young women, growing up and changing alongside her which makes her more relatable than the teenage country star she once was.
This quote from Diane Pecknold sums up on whether she thinks this marketing campaign will be a success:
“Whether Swift’s new persona will be a marketing success remains to be seen, but as the eight-ball fortune teller would say, signs point to yes. Her career was built t on her ability to reach a teen girl audience the country music industry had previously overlooked. Like her, those girls are now young women, and they’re not likely to be alienated by a persona that, for all its callousness, represents a kind of femininity geared toward survival in hostile circumstances. In any case, Swift and Big Machine have the cultural power to put across even a mediocre record and the economic resources to withstand one that is only very successful rather than a global juggernaut. The new Taylor will probably be just fine.” – Diane Pecknold is associate professor and Chair, Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Louisville.