Taylor Swift wants to create her very own social network with the launch of The Swift Life, a new Instagram-esque platfrom that focuses on the star songstress and allows fans to see behind-the-scenes footage, images of her at work and all-in-one access to the thoughts and news from their fellow Swift enthusiasts.
She joins a legion of other celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj who have cashed in on their recognizable faces and released their own branded apps. However, as others have emulated popular mobile games, Swift is abandoning high scores and flashy graphics for a straightforward social platform, perhaps hoping to eliminate previously proven music marketing tactics across digital channels.
If the Glu Mobile-designed social app takes off, Taylor Swift will have a chance to completely control her public-facing persona, bypassing third-party publications to market her albums and tours.
The Swift Life isn’t just an Instagram knock-off, either. Fans can earn Swift-themed emojis, dubbed Taymojis, by completing in-app challenges. The impatient and wealthy can bypass this process with in-app purchases, and can pay extra to get access to a Taymoji that supposedly guarantee Swift herself will look at their post. While other celebrities, like Kardashian West, have created their own emoji, gif and sticker sets tied in with existing social networks, Swift’s take on the trend is only usable within her own app.
This isn’t the first time that Swift has sought to control access to her music—she partnered with Ticketmaster in August to give exclusive concert tickets to fans who completed a variety of hype-generating, sales-increasing tasks. She also continues to delay the release of her albums on Spotify, pushing her biggest fans to the artist-controlled Tidal service if they want day-one access. It’s not clear yet how her music will be incorporated into The Swift Life.
Only time will tell if the app actually garners any major traction, and even so, its replicability for other brands seems dubious. Even brand faces as recognizable as Colonel Sanders lack the power of Swift’s cult of personality.