It’s been proven time and time again in the music industry: the sum of the collected parts is usually greater on a track is greater than a single, individual voice. Multi-platinum recording artist Taylor Swift, whose most recent album, 1989, has sold 4.6 million copies and produced three Billboard Hot 100 number 1 hits, has taken this adage to an entirely new level in her latest video, Bad Blood.
Director Joseph Kahn‘s premise for the video falls along the lines of- “If one beautiful woman in fem-assassin gear can push a single into platinum territory, what effect would a dozen have? Combining cross-platform appeal with a stroke of marketing genius, Swift has taken her third single, “Bad Blood”, a modest hit by her standards, and created a chart-topper on the back of a great video. Of course, the accompanying track is officially a remix, featuring Kendrick Lamar. If we are to estimate the success of “Bad Blood” with sheer numbers, look no further than the view counter- up to 168 million time in a few short weeks since release.
In the video, Swift is the star player on a team of scantily clad, bad-ass, espionage-oriented women; foremost her closest friends Selena Gomez and Lena Dunham, international sex symbols Cindy Crawford and Jessica Alba, electrodiva Ellie Goulding, who shows up packing more than her usual pipes. While this is isn’t the first time a music video has created buzz that outstrips that of the original track, it may be one of the first occasions a music video single-handedly created a number one hit (the song had previously topped out at No. 78). How does a mild hit become a number one? Some 11-odd sexy women with guns.
Of course “Bad Blood’ is just another brilliant chapter in the brilliant marketing saga characterizing Swift’s meteoric rise to stardom. When she was first starting out as a curly-haired, sunny, country-singing teen, Swift and her mother would bake cookies for the radio programmers who agreed to give her music airplay. While she is now past the point of baking sweets to motivate radio DJs (having sold over 130 million albums in the last decade), her songwriting talent, marketability, and ability to impress musical legends has only become more polished. Taylor Swift may end up as the biggest star of our generation, through savvy and sheer force of will (and maybe a little help from her friends).