Taylor Swift, the superstar singer with 104 million followers on Instagram, plans to test a new mobile application developed with game publisher Glu Mobile. “The Swift Life” will give fans a way to get exclusive content from the singer and to connect with other people on a mobile platform, a statement said.
Nick Earl, president and CEO of Glu, said the company aims for a worldwide launch later this year. Swift’s sixth album, “Reputation,” is due for release on November 10. The first single from the album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” broke several records after its online release. The music video was watched 43.2 million times in 24 hours, breaking a prior record of 28 million views.
“The Swift Life” will be available for iOS and Android devices by the end of this year after a soft launch “in limited territories.” Glu Mobile previously released games with celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and TV chef Gordon Ramsay, Variety reported.
Taylor Swift’s project with Glu Mobile was first described in early 2016 as a game. It fell behind schedule as the concept evolved into more of a social media platform like Instagram or Snapchat dedicated to the performer’s creative work.
Swift has demonstrated the power of her brand and fan base in taking stands against music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. In June 2015, the singer compelled Apple to change its policy of not paying royalties to artists during the free three-month trial period the tech giant offered to new subscribers. Swift pulled her music off Spotify in 2014, but returned in June 2017 before the release of her latest album.
With the launch of The Swift Life, Swift may be pointing the way for other artists who want to control their brand and monetize their own smartphone traffic, instead of handing it off to social media networks like Facebook’s Instagram or Snapchat. Unknown artists are still likely to use social media platforms to gain a following and to generate publicity, but Swift has the power to create her own social network among millions of fans worldwide.
The Swift Life is the latest example of how musicians with loyal audiences are leveraging mobile technology to deeper their connection with their fan base, both Gorillaz and Michael Jackson's estate recently exploring this space as well.