This Upstate NY Drive-In Theater Has a Major Beef with Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is no stranger to controversy, but now she's found herself a target from a rather unusual entity: a drive-in movie theater.
The Drive-in 32 in Greenville, New York -- about 26 miles southwest of Albany -- claims it's the "world's most viewed drive-in screen" after appearing in the music video for Swift's song "This Is Me Trying." Doesn't sound like something a business would complain about, except for one tiny detail: Footage of the screen was obtained without permission.
"This Is Me Trying" is a lyric video, meaning it is not a full-fledged visual production with fancy lighting and effects, but a simpler, lyric-focused visual representation of a song. In this case, Swift's team purchased footage of the Drive-in 32 screen to display those lyrics. The footage was purchased on Shutterstock, a stock footage licensing platform, for $75.
But the owner of Drive-in 32 says the photographer who uploaded the footage to Shutterstock trespassed on the property and shot it illegally. In an Instagram post from the official business account, they said:
Somewhere during the winter of either 2018 or 2019, an overseas-based freelance photographer entered our property without permission and began filming. He then placed that footage with @shutterstock advertising the footage as ‘abandoned upstate NY drive-in theatre’. (Mind you, to access our property he had to pass our marquee, box office and several signs that clearly stated we were active and off-season… but, anyway.) Someone in Taylor’s creative team purchased a $75 license from the stock agency for the footage, enlarged it, slowed it down, stitched together 14 loops of the original 11-second clip and then added the lyrics on our screen. Voila! Instant music video.
Although owner David Grimm said he isn't upset, he hopes Swift or a member of her team gives proper credit to the theater.
At this time, no legal action is expected to be taken. In fact, Drive-in 32 is leaning into the fame, hosting a tongue-in-cheek "Taylor Swift Appreciation Day" on Friday, July 28th, where fans are invited to sing at a Taylor Swift-themed karaoke night. The very screen utilized for Swift's video will have the karaoke lyrics projected onto it.
You can learn more about the Drive-in 32 theater in Greenville at their official Facebook page.