In Power-Mad Entertainment Biz, Twitter Followers Are Everything

By Chris Jones
Chicago Tribune.

“Love Love Loved @HamiltonMusical” tweeted the punctuation-free @AmySchumer very early one recent morning, attaching a photo of herself in a very nice orchestra seat at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, clutching a Playbill.

If you Pay Pay Paid for even a small part of that brilliant and phenomenally successful musical, which, by my back of the envelope calculations is netting its creator @Lin_Manuel more in a month than what the MacArthur Foundation is giving him over five years to recognize the unimpeachable genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, you likely fell in love with Schumer all over again.

After all, she has well over 2 million followers. Even if only a tiny percentage act on her effusive recommendation, that still represents a formidable reach: around twice the current Sunday print circulation for the New York Times, for example.

And even with all the greatest copywriters in the world, it’s hard to improve on “Love Love Loved,” especially when replete with visual aid and the concise hashtag “greatforhiphopheads.” One can only hope the affection was genuine and spontaneous, rather than a matter of shared interests.

Not that we would really know, either way. Given the intricate networks of agents, executives and representatives at the upper echelons of the entertainment business, I suspect there were elements of both. Somebody got Schumer the ticket; mere mortals are having a hard time. Then again, it’s a quality show. Why can’t Schumer promote that in which she believes?

Celebrity endorsements have come a long way since Oprah’s Book Club turned half the struggling industry of American publishing into Winfrey lap dogs. That would no longer be the case; too many others are on the Winfrey bandwagon.

Celebrities with huge social media followings now drive artistic business to a massive extent. So, for example, when @Stephenathome retweeted Jon Baptiste’s request for support for an event this past week at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, that reached 9.31 million of Stephen Colbert’s followers. Very few media outlets of any kind reach 9.31 million people, although that’s nothing compared with @taylorswift13, whose very rare endorsements on Twitter reach 65.4 million, which is more than the entire population of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Oh, and there’s another 50 million watching her on Instagram. Granted, not all 65.4 million Taylor Swift fans are reading her every Tweet. But still.

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