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Taylor Swift taps some of TikTok's biggest stars to appear in music video for The Man

Apr 17th 2020, 10:44 am
Posted by annajohnsonusa
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Loren Gray and Taylor Swift in The Man.

Taylor Swift

Singer, songwriter and all-around boss Taylor Swift on Thursday released the music video for The Man, the fourth single off her album Lover. As is often the case for Swift's videos, she enlisted some famous faces to help out, but this time she looked far beyond her usual circle of friends to find them.

For this music video, which Swift starred in but also directed, she turned to TikTok to find the talent she needed to fill cameo spots. Among the handful of recognizable people to appear in The Man is the most followed person on TikTok, Loren Gray (39.7 million followers), as well as Dominic Toliver (8.8 million followers) and Jayden Bartels (7.9 million followers).

Toliver and Bartels appear together in a scene in which Swift, in full prosthetic disguise as a man, is heartily applauded and studybay idolized for doing some bare minimum parenting. Gray, meanwhile, makes a highly meme-able and memorable turn as a ball girl at a tennis match, giving an iconic eye roll when Swift (again as a man) is arguing with the umpire, who coincidentally is played by her real-life father Scott (not currently a TikTok star, but has definite potential).

Musicians and record labels are increasingly looking to TikTok, with its potential to create viral hits, as an opportunity to boost the visibility of their latest material. The success of one of last year's biggest hits, Lil Nas X's Old Town Road, was largely attributed to its success on the platform. But attempts to write specifically for the TikTok audience can result in lyrically weak and melodically bland songs -- see Justin Bieber's cringeworthy Yummy.


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Swift has never been one to compromise on the quality of her writing for the sake of scoring quick chart hits, so writing specifically with the hope of going viral on TikTok probably wouldn't be an option for her. But the fact that she's turned to TikTok to source talent for her music video is a real endorsement of the influence TikTok has within pop culture, as well as the starpower of its biggest hitters.

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The nature of TikTok and its algorithm means that unlike other big social platforms, it's not built to put celebrities and brands front and center. Attempting to harness its power isn't as simple as setting up a verified profile and cross-posting the same content you put on Instagram and Twitter. Swift has found a smarter way to engage with the zeitgeist while staying true to herself and her songwriting instincts.

Following the video's premiere on Thursday, the star thanked all three of the young performers on Instagram and Twitter, responding to their tweets and emphasizing what a pleasure it was working with them. 

it's so cool to have you be a part of this!! Thank you @jaydenbartels and @dominic_toliver for your amazing and hilarious reactions- and @iamlorengray your eye roll really was aStOnIsHiNg

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