Taylor Swift performed in Austin at the F1 US Grand Prix on Saturday night. It was her first concert of 2016 and, apparently, her only show of 2016, to an audience of 80,000. On the weekend to commemorate her 10 years in the business. We’ll come back to that in a minute. But first, what everyone’s talking about: on an evening of firsts, she also performed This Is What You Came For… for the first time.
Of course you know the background to the song. Her ex-boyfriend, Calamity Haynes, released the song. The song was initially credited to both him and “Nils Sjoberg”. When they broke up, it was revealed that she’d used a pseudonym which means he has to share the most successful hit of his career with him listed as the lead artist (on other major hits he’s a “featured” artist) with someone who can clearly claim her own long list of accomplishments and not mention any of his four names. You’ll note, all of the other songs he released this year have been sh-t, nowhere near the success of This Is What You Came For.
And that’s maybe why he was so bitter after people found out that she had a hand in it.
So there’s Taylor on Saturday in Austin. And though she has a long list of songs she left on the table that could easily have taken the place of This Is What You Came For, this is what she did instead:
And I love it. I love her. I love her for never disappointing in gossip. I love her for this gift, for her special gift of always having to be part of the “narrative”. Yes she was with him and reminding us that it is hers, that it belongs to her as much as it belongs to him. I’m not mad at that. I’m not mad at it from a gossip perspective and I’m definitely not mad at seeing a woman refuse to give up credit, refuse to stop sharing credit, with a man who tried to front like he could have done it on his own. For me it goes back to an article I read in Forbes a few years ago. According to a study published in 2013 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin women are less likely to take credit for their achievements, preferring to deflect praise to their colleagues. In many cases, those colleagues are men. But then Forbes reports that when women don’t claim the credit, and don’t speak up for their abilities – the way men do – it results in slower professional advancement and as much a million dollars in lost earnings over a lifetime in certain industries.
Here’s how much Taylor Swift reportedly made on Saturday night:
I was wondering why she committed to the opportunity, with no new material and she supposedly wanted to stay quiet (ha!) this year, but that totally explains it. The F1 can definitely afford $20 million. Especially when that money yields these kinds of results:
What you get then for Taylor Swift on $20 million is a well-reviewed show featuring some of her most well-known tracks and the exclusive debut of her on piano doing her biggest track of the year, even though she had a cold. You can hear the congestion in her voice particularly when she talks:
So now it’s October 24, 2016. As Taylor told the audience on Saturday, “It’s been about 10 years since my first album came out. Since then, I feel like I've been opening up my journal and letting you read it, and it feels so good that 10 years later, you still feel like reading it.”
There’s been a theory going around that after the show, on Sunday, October 23, Taylor would surprise-drop a new album. She always releases new material in October. And the numbers of that date add up to 13. And…and …and…
At post time there’s been nothing. The backup date for that theory is November 13th. Those numbers also add up to 13. But I’m wondering if what we should be wondering about is Taylor’s deal with AT&T. The multi-year deal was announced a few weeks ago and, you’ll recall, it includes a performance on Saturday night before the Super Bowl. AT&T just announced its bit to acquire Time Warner. Time Warner is CNN, it’s the NBA, it’s MLB, it’s HBO, it’s Warner Bros, it’s so much more. So, in theory, in the future, once the deal goes through, Taylor Swift’s projects could be released across all those platforms. Think about that level of exposure for her and what kind of marketing potential that could mean.