Taylor Swift, country music’s current sweetheart, performed at the Wal-Mart annual meeting Friday. But her record label doesn’t really want you to know that. Or at the very least, they didn’t want you to see or hear her.
Neither side is saying why, but is this a good time to mention the Mexican bribery allegations swirling around Wal-Mart?
Wal-Mart typically brings in top acts for its annual meeting, which is as much a pep rally for its employees as an exercise in corporate governance. Ben Stiller and Will Smith have served as hosts in the past, and this year’s MC duties went to none other than Justin Timberlake. In addition to JT and Swift, other musical acts who showed up to serenade Wal-Mart workers Friday included Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Juanes and the Zac Brown Band.
But while the performances of all those other acts were streamed on the webcast of the meeting, Swift’s mysteriously wasn’t. When it was time for her to stop bantering with Timberlake and start singing “Love Story” and “Mean,” the webcast was interrupted with a notice that said the performance would not be shown at the request of her label, Big Machine Music. That is somewhat ironic, as Swift’s core audience consists of young digital natives while Dion and Richie fans may need Swift’s fans to explain what a webcast is to them.
Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar gave no other details about the Swift blackout, but noted that a few acts have requested the same in the past, Jennifer Lopez among them. A spokeswoman for Swift’s label, Big Machine Music, could not immediately say why the performance was blacked out.