How Taylor Swift Influenced Amazon Prime’s Hit Series “The Summer I Turned Pretty”

words by Casey

If you are anything like me, you too are recently obsessed with the Amazon Original Series: The Summer I Turned Pretty. How could you not when it includes a love triangle, a shared beach house, best friends to lovers, the most perfect cast, and the best television soundtrack I’ve ever heard.

Based on the book trilogy of the same name, the show follows Isabel “Belly” Conklin during the summer of her sixteenth birthday. She has to deal with family dynamics, newfound confidence, finding an escort for the town’s Debutante Ball, and risking it all to follow her heart.

Jenny Han, the author of the original series as well as the To All The Boys Trilogy, is the leading producer of the Amazon Prime Original, most notably called the Showrunner. She was also able to work closely with the music supervisor, Liza Richardson, to request specific songs for the soundtrack.

A music supervisor is the head of the music department on a film or television show. They work with a team of people and the director to determine what songs fit in different scenes of the project.

the summer I turned pretty series | cast from left to right: Gavin Casalegno, Christopher Briney, Lola Tung, Sean Kaufman

The process typically begins with a storyboard that outlines the ideal song choices for a project. Many songs are listed as alternatives or put as placeholders until songs are finalized. Before the team requests the synchronization licenses for the music, they must take into account the show’s music budget. For independent artists, it may cost around $100, however for popular songs by popular artists it may be several thousands of dollars. These payments work on a license basis, unlike royalties which are on a pay-per-play basis.

For example, to license All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carrey in a movie for only 10 seconds it can cost up to $50k.

So it is no secret that the budget for this series was through the roof. Throughout the 7 episode series there were songs by Phoebe Bridgers, Dua Lipa, Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, and not one but FIVE Taylor Swift songs.

Jenny Han is an obvious Swiftie and certainly does not hide that part of herself in the series. These songs narrate Belly’s internal monologue as she attempts to combat the love triangle that is her life. There are Taylor Swift-related easter eggs hidden throughout the books and each episode as well!

(I could argue for days on the importance that Taylor Swift being correlated with Conrad has… but that’s for a different day.)

If you are interested in learning more about music supervision or sync licenses drop a comment and we will be sure to answer all your questions!

Additionally, you can watch The Summer I Turned Pretty right now on Amazon Prime, buy the books here, and listen to the official playlist on Spotify.

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