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Taylor Swift's 'Blank Space' app is not the future of music videos

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Nov. 26, 2014
In fact, it's not even her app.

taylor swift easter egg binoculars

In case you shook it off as NBD and forgot, Taylor Swift recently released an app called The Taylor Swift Experience to accompany her latest music video. Actually, it's called "American Express Unstaged: Taylor Swift Ex...", because it's so ridiculously AmEx-branded that there's not enough room on the App Store for the full title to be displayed when you search for it.

Here's my two-second recap of American Express's Taylor's app, for those of you who don't want to bother downloading it:

  • 360-degree views of the rooms of the mansion in which Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" video was filmed
  • Tap on glowing doors to see more rooms
  • Tap on random objects to see them up-close (this is super boring, I promise)
  • Occasionally see Taylor Swift dancing with/throwing things at her guy
  • All while "Blank Space" plays in the background

I know what you're thinking--wow, this sounds like the most revolutionary, mind-bending, fully immersive app experience in the entire world. 360-degree views? What the what? Well, tough potatoes, because I'm here to totally burst your bubble. 

taylor swift and guy walking in mansion
Thank you, American Express... I guess.

I've played through this app (you only get the duration of Taylor's song to explore the mansion in each play-through) at least 25 times now--first, because I was looking for the revelation, and then, because I wanted to write this article on how there is no revelation. While the app (and let's stop calling it Taylor Swift's app, it's American Express's app, people) offers some neat behind-the-scenes stuff for diehard Swifties (is that what we call Taylor Swift fans? It is now), it's really not particularly impressive.

TL;DR--this app is pretty average, and here's why:

It's not new
In the app, er, experience, you get to explore the mansion in which Swift filmed her "Blank Space" video. Sort of. What you actually get to do is see 360-degree views from a fixed point in five rooms, plus a hallway.

Wow, so revolutionary! 

When I was in 7th grade--15 years ago--I did a website project on Paris, France. I was pretty tech-savvy back then, and I found something really awesome: A 360-degree view from the Eiffel Tower. What! This was amazing! I immediately embedded it on my webpage, and got straight A's for the rest of the year (or something like that).

taylor swift music easter egg
You pan around the room and look for clues. Yep. 

Anyway, here's my point: 360-degree photography? That's been a thing forever. Sure, in this app you can move your phone to look around, but that's just a gimmicky use of the gyroscope, not a revolution. Also, in this app, you'll occasionally see people moving about--but they're a little blurry and fuzzy, and you're standing in a fixed point in each room, so how hard was it really to film their movements? My first thought upon completing this experience was that it reminded me a heck of a lot of my 7th grade Paris project... and that's probably not a good sign.


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