Taylor Swift's On-Stage Guests See Increased Hype, Says Data
Continuing a tradition that stretches back to her first world tour for Fearless in 2009, Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour has featured a number of special musical guest duets, from a wide range of genres and radio formats. How did these guest artists benefit from their special appearances? The answer, like life, isn't black and white.
The biggest beneficiary of a Swift duet was former "Everything Has Changed" partner Ed Sheeran, thanks mainly due to his song choice that evening: X album cut "Tenerife Sea" saw a 39 percent increase in sales (according to Nielsen SoundScan) following its performance at Rock In Rio USA in Las Vegas on May 15, the opening night of the North American leg of Swift's tour. Aside from a 25 percent increase for The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" (July 10 in East Rutherford, NJ) and a 14 percent bump for Jason Derulo's "Want To Want Me" (July 14 in Washington, DC), the other guest artists' sales increases were negligible.
Why wouldn't an appearance with one of the biggest superstars in the music industry at the moment result in more substantial sales? Most of the songs performed were already established hits at the time they were sung on Swift's stage. While only one of the thirteen tracks -- Lorde's "Royals" -- was a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper, the average peak position of the covered songs was No. 9. Swift isn't championing rising stars on this platform, instead turning to veritable hitmakers whose music she personally enjoys.
Much more noteworthy is the bump seen in social media engagement following the live performance and subsequent press coverage. Every single guest artist saw a sizeable bump in mentions on Twitter, and all but two (Nick Jonas and Sam Hunt, both of whom have large followings on the network already) experienced an increase in likes on Instagram, according to data compiled by Next Big Sound. Derulo received the largest Twitter gain in the week following his July 14 performance of "Want To Want Me," increasing his mentions by 737 percent; Little Big Town's cover of "Pontoon" led to the second-largest jump of nearly 502 percent. On Instagram, Rachel Platten, The Weeknd, and Andy Grammer all increased their likes by more than 200 percent.
By choosing guest artists who already have high profiles, Swift isn't putting lesser-known talent into the spotlight and boosting their sales among new fans. Rather, she is showcasing some of her favorite singles on the chart with the artists who made them hits. Considering her constant, lofty presence on the Billboard Artist 100 and Social 50 charts, it's only natural that sharing her stage would result in large social gains for her guests.
May 15, 2015 – Ed Sheeran ("Tenerife Sea") – Las Vegas, NV – City of Rock (Rock In Rio USA)
512k Twitter mentions (up 117%); 3.77M Instagram likes (up 30%); 2k track sales (up 39%); has never charted on Hot 100
May 30, 2015 – Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons ("Radioactive") – Detroit, MI – Ford Field
52k Twitter mentions (up 163%); 500k Instagram likes (up 101%); 8k track sales (up 4%); No. 3 Hot 100 peak
June 6, 2015 – Little Big Town ("Pontoon") – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field
19k Twitter mentions (up 502%); 101k Instagram likes (up 164%); 4k track sales (up 5%); No. 22 Hot 100 peak
June 12, 2015 – Echosmith ("Cool Kids") – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
24k Twitter mentions (up 45%); 309k Instagram likes (up 127%); 6k track sales (down 4%); No. 13 Hot 100 peak
June 13, 2015 – Rachel Platten ("Fight Song") – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
34k Twitter mentions (up 368%); 275k Instagram likes (up 255%); 140k track sales (up 7%); No. 13 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 8 Hot 100 peak
July 10, 2015 – The Weeknd ("Can't Feel My Face") – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium
171k Twitter mentions (up 53%); 1.82M Instagram likes (up 244%); 161k track sales (up 25%); No. 2 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 2 Hot 100 peak
July 11, 2015 – Nick Jonas ("Jealous") – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium
113k Twitter mentions (up 130%); 1.77M Instagram likes (down 15%); 7k track sales (flat); No. 7 Hot 100 peak
July 13, 2015 – Lorde ("Royals") – Washington, DC – Nationals Park
43k Twitter mentions (up 461%); 675k Instagram likes (up 81%); 3k track sales (up 14%); No. 1 Hot 100 peak
July 14, 2015 – Jason Derulo ("Want To Want Me") – Washington, DC – Nationals Park
116k Twitter mentions (up 737%); 655k Instagram likes (up 110%); 42k track sales (down 9%); No. 17 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 5 Hot 100 peak
July 18, 2015 – Andy Grammer ("Honey, I'm Good") – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
28k Twitter mentions (up 35%); 169k Instagram likes (up 226%); No. 14 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 9 Hot 100 peak
July 19, 2015 – Sam Hunt ("Take Your Time") – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
31k Twitter mentions (up 305%); 197k Instagram likes (down 26%); No. 38 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 20 Hot 100 peak
July 24, 2015 – Walk The Moon ("Shut Up And Dance") – Foxborough, MA – Gillette Stadium
27k Twitter mentions (up 381%); 149k Instagram likes (up 73%); No. 9 on Hot 100 at time of performance; No. 4 Hot 100 peak
July 25, 2015 – MKTO ("Classic") – Foxborough, MA – Gillette Stadium
20k Twitter mentions (up 82%); 54k Instagram likes (up 9%); No. 14 Hot 100 peak