Taylor Swift Mania…How Long Will It Last?

Does it seem real?  The average amount each Taylor Swift fan is spending to see her Eras Tour concert is $1,300.  That includes a ticket, travel, hotels, meals and other expenses.  Swift is able to sell out SoFi stadium in Los Angeles for six nights in seven days.  At 80,000 people per concert, that’s nearly half-a-million fans!  Those concerts were the final ones of Swifts’ 53 U.S. concerts from March 17th through August 9th, 2023.

SoFi Stadium has a roof, so here’s an aerial view of one of the Taylor Swift concerts in Pittsburgh:

I had no idea any musician was so popular that people would pay thousands of dollars for tickets.  My wife and I attended many concerts from 1970 through just recently, including some of the biggest artists, like Paul McCartney, Crosby Stills & Nash, the Eagles, James Taylor, Billy Joel, and many more.  The highest-priced tickets we ever got were $94 each.  That was for a Dark Side Of The Moon concert by Roger Waters.  The prices we paid for concerts seem really quaint now.  (Update: 2/16/24  We paid $200 each for tickets to see Alison Krauss & Robert Plant.)

Taylor Swift’s shows are nearly 3-and-a-half-hours long, and she sings 44 songs.  The production quality is exceptional.  Swift completed four shows in Mexico City (8/27/23), and takes a breather until November for more international shows.  Right now she’s set for a total of 146 concerts…make that 151, she added three more shows in Vancouver, Canada, and two more in London.

(The dates are in the international style, with the day and then the month.)

Is she going to be able to complete such a schedule without health problems, weather problems, or logistical issues?  If it all works out, the tour should be the first to gross in the Billions of dollars.

Update:  According to Pollstar, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is officially the biggest tour ever.  It passed one-billion-40-million-dollars in 2023 in about nine months.  That compares to the second biggest tour, which is by Elton John.  His multi-year 330 show tour made 939-million-dollars.  With the 2024 portion of Swift’s tour, the total is expected to be around two-billion-dollars.

While the numbers are huge, the expense of such a large tour will eat into the profits…plus Swift is sharing those profits.  She gave her tour crew members $55-million in bonuses…such as $100,000 to each of the 50 truck drivers.  Swift has also given undisclosed “significant donations” to food banks in cities where she’s performed.  The tour has already generated an estimated $5-billion in revenue for the cities she played.

But it’s not just the concerts.  Taylor Swift is a songwriting and album-producing machine.  By the end of October, 2023, she had 13 albums in a row enter the charts at #1, with seven of those albums being released in just over the last three years.

Three of those albums, Folklore, Evermore, and Midnights, were completely new, and have an average of 18 songs each.  That’s enough songs for about 4 & 1/2 typical albums.  Then there are the four re-recorded albums.  Not only did Taylor Swift completely re-record those albums, but they have another 26 new “from the vault” songs that Taylor Swift wrote, but hadn’t recorded.  That would be another two-albums-worth of new songs!

Besides her massive song output, maybe the most unusual part of Taylor Swift’s popularity is how deeply her fans are into her music. They seem to know all the lyrics…not just the hits, but the album tracks and the bonus tracks.  During her U.S. Eras Tour, Swift performed approximately 150 different songs (who does that?), and fans sang along with all of them.  That speaks highly to the quality of the songs and the recordings.

So far so great, but where does it go from here?  How long could any artist maintain the heat Taylor Swift is currently generating?  Will the extreme popularity cause over-exposure to the point that people get tired of her?  Some of that has already occurred with her appearances at NFL games.  Swift’s relationship with her fans seems passionate and personal.  So, if she ever makes a mistake and alienates them, it would seem like a betrayal.

There’s also the possibility that Swift (like most artists) will eventually have trouble creating the quality of songs and recordings she now makes.  Swift has directed award-winning music videos, and has expressed interest in directing movies, so that could change her career path.  At some point, the 33-year-old may opt for marriage and a family.  That would at least necessitate a significant slowdown in her professional activities.

It’s probably not fair to think about the distant end to Taylor Swift’s career when she is having truly historic success.  Her songwriting has become even more sophisticated in recent years.  Members of indie group The National, who have provided Swift with “song starter” chords and riffs, were amazed how quickly Swift was able to write melodies and lyrics to complete the songs.

There’s a story in Variety by writer Chris Willman, who attended the final Eras concert in L.A.  She said this tour surpassed the other historic tours she witnessed, such as those by Michael Jackson, U2, and Bruce Springsteen.  Willman compared it to how it would have been if The Beatles had stayed together for an “Eras Tour” of their own.  She said the demand for tickets in Los Angeles was so great Swift could have easily sold out the stadium six more times.

It would seem impossible for Taylor Swift to keep up her unbelievable success of the past few years, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the Taylor Swift era.

Update:  A film of the Eras Tour opened worldwide on October 13th, 2023.  The film passed 261-million-dollars in ticket sales. This young woman and her marketing team are geniuses.  They got this film out just two months after her last U.S. concert date, and two weeks before the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

Update (Oct. 28th, 2023):

1989 (Taylor’s Version) is her 13th album to debut at #1, and instantly became the highest selling album of 2023.  The year’s next two highest sellers are Midnights & Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).

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