Taylor Swift's new music video for "Blank Space" has been given an immersive complementary technological experience with the American Express Unstaged Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience App, a free application that allows fans to explore the world of Swift's opulent new clip. The tablet and smartphone app, a collaboration between Swift and American Express, was unveiled on Tuesday morning (Nov. 11) during Good Morning America, and is currently available in the App Store and in the Google Play Store.
So how exactly does the Blank Space app work? Billboard was given a preview of the app last week, and can happily explain the cool new fan experience:
- You can explore the virtual mansion. Swift's "Blank Space" video finds the pop superstar beguiling -- and then berating -- a dashing gentleman while exploring the grounds of a fabulous estate. In the app, the user is transported into a re-creation of that setting for the course of the song, where he or she can follow a realistically animated Swift and her beau as they enter and exit new areas of the mansion, or leave the couple to explore six elaborate rooms. In other words, it's a choose-your-own-adventure video game that lasts for under five minutes.
The 360-degree action between Swift and her male counterpart is similar to that of the actual video, although a few tweaks have been made so that the story of the video is easier to follow around the mansion. So, yes, by following Taylor around during her intimate moments, fans can do some #TayLurking for themselves -- and when the song ends, just hit the replay button to keep the lurking going.
- You can follow other characters. After the first few experiences with the app, users are going to want to see what else is going on aside from Swift's romantic tribulations. Luckily, new song-length stories have been grafted into the app: after Swift finishes her portrait of the man and leaves the drawing room, for instance, a young worker comes to collect the painting and figure out where to hang it. There's also a butler and a few other mansion guardians to follow around while "Blank Space" plays on.
- There are Easter eggs everywhere. Aside from peering in on Swift and the other characters, fans will want to click on the 41 trinkets placed in the virtual mansion and delight in the details. A record player, for example, has a vinyl placed next to it with the image of Swift's grandmother, who was a professional opera singer; in another room, a book on a coffee table includes never-before-seen photos from Swift's childhood.
- You can purchase Swift's 1989 album and watch the "Blank Space" music video within the app. Just in case you haven't already. But wait, there's more! The app also includes behind-the-scenes footage of the "Blank Space" video shoot, as well as links to Swift's 1989 tour schedule.
- The app was created right after the "Blank Space" video was completed. Once Swift and director Joseph Kahn wrapped filming the "Blank Space" clip in Long Island in September, another crew was brought in to photograph the mansion in the video and create the interactive world of the app. Instead of looking like a Grand Theft Auto knockoff, then, the app (produced by RadicalMedia and created with their custom technology) is fleshed-out with real details and human characters.
- The app is presented by American Express, but there's no product placement. Users will be able to click within the app on past performances for American Express Unstaged, the company's long-running music series in partnership with VEVO and YouTube, but Swift isn't swiping a credit card in the app. During a demo of the app in New York City on Friday, Kahn raved about AmEx's hands-off approach to the creation of the app, which uses a proprietary technology built for other artists to possibly utilize in the future. American Express Card Members will also have the jump on general ticket sales for Swift's upcoming tour.
- The app is lightweight fun. Unlike recent music apps by Bjork and Lady Gaga, the "Blank Space" app doesn't try to overextend itself or contain an entire album's worth of ideas -- it's a neat, free experience for "Blank Space" fans that isn't difficult to figure out how to use. "This video experience is really fun because we have hidden items in the rooms for fans to find, look at and test their ability to find other items," Swift says in a press statement. "Joining up with American Express to bring this experience as a gift to the fans has been so amazing. This is all for them, and I hope that the they will have a lot of fun with it."