Scrounging for ways to keep X, formerly Twitter, afloat amid a slew of controversies and catastrophic business decisions, Elon Musk on Wednesday sought help from a somewhat more popular celebrity: Taylor Swift.
Swifties are currently living in feverish anticipation of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the next in the singer’s series of re-recorded albums, which drops on Oct. 27 — the ninth anniversary of the original’s release. Naturally, Swift has teased the release in dramatic fashion, inviting fans to solve puzzles to reveal the titles of vault tracks that will appear on the record, and on Tuesday shared them on social media along with back cover images. “I can’t wait for this one to be out, seriously,” she wrote on X — prompting a transparently desperate reply from the platform’s beleaguered owner.
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“I recommend posting some music or concert videos directly on the X platform,” Musk tweeted, unable to muster a single reason why Swift, one of the most successful musicians on the planet, should do so.
I recommend posting some music or concert videos directly on the X platform
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 20, 2023
Between her astronomical album and concert sales, streaming dominance, and general icon status, Swift has no need for further promotion, least of all on a website that sent advertisers fleeing when the billionaire who impulsively bought it became obsessed with defeating the “woke mind virus.” New music or videos from Swift, however — the rollout of which was no doubt meticulously coordinated long before Musk had the bright idea to leverage her superstardom to his own benefit — would guarantee a spike of engagement, however fleeting, for X.
In any case, Musk should probably know better than to believe his recommendation is anything more than a Hail Mary: the National Music Publishers Association and its members sued X in June for infringing copyright on more than 1,700 songs. NMPA president David Israelite said at the time that “Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service.” The legal drama predates Musk’s acquisition; Twitter is the last social media giant without a music licensing agreement. X has filed a motion for the suit to be thrown out.
Swift has yet to respond to the self-serving suggestion from the richest man alive, though Musk’s post did prompt scorn and ridicule from lesser-known X users. “No one asked, babe,” wrote one Swiftie, while another fan joked, “she’s so powerful she has a literal billionaire looking for clout from her.” It seems that for Musk, 1989 will be no escape from 2023.
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