Roots, Toots n' Hoots Blog
Swift smartly heads east
Jeffrey Remz | April 4, 2014
The Taylor Swift juggernaut rolls on. Soon, Swift is bringing her brand of country music to Asia where she set a record this week, but more on that later.
It used to be that country music was particular to the south. If you were up north - New York City and New England, for example - those were the outliers of country.
I can't tell you how many times country acts would come to the Boston area and utter something stupid like "I didn't realize there were so many country fans in New England." That's like going down south and thinking everyone is a redneck hillbilly. Okay, perhaps not as cutting. Fortunately, that small mindedness doesn't exist any more, at least when it comes to concert patter.
In the U.S., country music - whether traditional or more of the modern pop music passing as country - is pervasive.
But that wasn't always the case overseas where U.S. acts tended not to tour all that much. But that barrier also has broken down with acts ranging from Swift to Lady Antebellum to Alan Jackson touring in Australia and Europe. Rockabilly, for example, has had a long history in Scandinavia. Don Williams has long enjoyed a good following in Europe.
So, it is good to hear that Swift is continuing to mine more of the world market with her current RED tour. Swift set a record this week, selling out Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena in one minute, making it the fastest ticket on-sale in Chinese history, according to her label. The show will be on May 30.
From there, Swift will go to Tokyo, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. This is not the first time that Swift has headed to the Far East - another smart move because if you want to keep your fans, you'd better show up in the flesh.
Swift is pretty much in a category by herself when it comes to country performers. I'm not so sure that Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan or George Strait could do so well in these countries, but perhaps Swift has least opened some doors to her country compatriots.
This all makes sense from a business standpoint. When you've saturated a market as best you can, it's time to head to new areas. That's where country music may be at these days. Swift always has been smart about managing her career. The RED tour and her upcoming trip to Asia only underscores that point.