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The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Music Industry to Economy: How Beyoncé and Taylor Swift’s Tours Shook the Economy All Over the World

Whatever your opinions may be on the two artists, there is no doubt that both Taylor Swift and Beyoncé have had huge impacts on the music industry. However, that is not the only thing that they have made a major impact on. Swift has been on the “Eras Tour” since March of this year and is set to finish in December 2024. Her tour is going to span the continents Australia, Europe, South America, Asia, and North America, the most recent being South America: Brazil and Argentina. 

From May to October of this year, Beyoncé went on her “Renaissance Tour” across North America and Europe to celebrate the release of her seventh studio album, “Renaissance.”

“I can’t remember a time when any tour was itself a news story, and then morphed into an economic story,” said Director of the Upper School, Andy King, who attended both the tours at MetLife stadium. 

Wherever the two singer-songwriters held their tours, the sales of their tickets, merchandise, concessions, and all the money that fans spent getting to and buying from each city made an impact on local economies. 

Taylor Swift announced the “Eras Tour” on November 1, 2022, just a few days after the release of her tenth studio album, “Midnights. Her first leg across the United States spanned 17 cities and 53 shows. She is now touring Latin America; she has performed in Mexico City, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She will continue her tour starting in February in Asia, Europe, and a final North American leg across three U.S. cities and two Canadian cities. 

Credit: Rebecca Ingles
I attended the Eras Tour on Friday, May 26th, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the first of three shows here. She performed her three hour long setlist, including the surprise songs “Maroon” from “Midnights” and “Getaway Car” from “Reputation” with Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and co-produced the song with Swift. The bright red colors and black bodysuit Swift wears during her “Reputation” set can be seen here.

The tour features sets from all of Taylor Swift’s albums, or “eras” (excluding her first self-titled album) after Swift was forced to cancel what would have been her sixth tour, “Lover Fest,” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tour spans three and half hours of 44 songs and is the highest-grossing tour by a woman and the second highest-grossing tour overall, grossing $780,000,000 so far. Taylor Swift also released “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” a concert film lasting three hours, showing almost her entire concert, with a few songs cut out. 

It screened in many different countries throughout the world, giving fans who had not been able to attend the tour the opportunity to see it close to their home. It is the highest-grossing concert film of all time, earning 240 million dollars. It had an extremely strong opening weekend, grossing 92.8 million dollars. It is distributed directly by AMC theaters, as well as other theater companies like Cinemark. It recently left the theaters, its final showings being on Sunday, November 26. An extended version of the film, with songs that were performed on the “Eras Tour” but not included in the original showing of the movie, became available for rent on December 13 in select countries, including the United States. 

Swift’s impact has stretched even further than the economy; she was just named Time’s Person of the Year. Sam Lansky, the writer for Time who interviewed Swift said, “To discuss her movements felt like discussing politics or the weather—a language spoken so widely it needed no context. She became the main character of the world.”

The “Eras Tour” also caused many problems for fans trying to buy tickets, as Ticketmaster, the company Swift used to sell tickets to her North American leg of the tour, experienced website glitches and crashes, due to fourteen million people, including bots, trying to get tickets. This situation was so hectic that the general sale for the tour ended up being canceled. 

“I think knowing what people soon figured out was that [Taylor Swift] was doing a greatest hits tour, you know, I think it became, it broke all the models. Because I think people were like, oh well I didn’t get tickets when they first went on sale, I’ll just get them in [the] secondary market, and the prices will eventually come down, and they never did,” said Mr. King. 

Upper School History and Economics teacher David Sykes explained that while paying high ticket prices on the secondary market doesn’t directly infuse money into the economy, it could have an economic impact depending on where that money is spent. For example, if the seller spends their earnings at local restaurants, stores, or hotels, that money will then be infused into the economy. 

The “Renaissance World Tour” was not far behind, being the second highest-grossing tour by a woman, the eighth highest-grossing tour of all time, and the highest-grossing tour of a Black artist, grossing 579,800,000 dollars. The “Renaissance World Tour” is Beyoncé’s ninth tour in support of “Renaissance,her seventh studio album. It ran from May to October of 2023. The tour spanned 56 shows across 15 cities across Europe and the United States. The setlist is about two and a half to three hours long, performing all the songs from “Renaissance” in order, as well as some other hits dispersed throughout the show. 

The show incorporates themes of self-love, unity, and empowerment. Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé debuted on December 1st, and, unlike the “Eras Tour” movie, also shows Beyoncé’s involvement in the production of the tour, showing the concert from the opening night in Stockholm, Sweden, to the closing night in Kansas City, Missouri. Like the “Eras Tour,” “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” was distributed by AMC Theaters Distribution and their partners across different countries. Both Taylor Swift and Beyoncé attended each other’s premieres of their movies: Taylor Swift’s premiere in Los Angeles and Beyoncé’s premiere in London. 

These concerts being available in theaters has also made the tours more accessible to the general public, especially those in countries where the tours have no stops. 

“I mean just that for the ‘Eras Tour,’ like the tour movie, it makes it accessible, not just financially, but in terms of time commitment, in terms of logistics. Right, and it’s just like, it’s so much easier to also go with friends because you know, you can always get tickets together, so everything is just so much simpler,” said Tuo Liu, super Swiftie and modern languages teacher. 

He also emphasized that these movies have made people more interested in the concerts, even [if] they aren’t big enough fans to attend them. Dr. Liu said he is planning on attending Beyoncé’s movie, despite not being familiar with her newest music. 

During the “Eras Tour”, since many people commuted to different cities far away from where they lived, hotels, restaurants, and transportation systems saw a surge in revenue, especially in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville. India Davis-Hanessian, a junior who attended both the “Eras Tour” and the “Renaissance Tour,” spent money on food and parking, bought merchandise at the “Eras Tour,” and bought a new outfit for the “Eras Tour.” 

Mr. King also commented on his experience with the lines for merchandise at both of the concerts, saying that he had never seen anything like it before. 

“In the middle of the [“Eras Tour”], I think I waited in, like, a fifteen-minute line for stuff. That to me, but that isn’t local merchandise, right, so that was more like, that’s part of the Taylor Swift empire. And the merchandise lines for Beyonce, were similar, were not the same length, but still long compared to what I’d seen at other concerts,” he said. 

The tour is expected to generate about five billion dollars in consumer spending in the United States, even bringing in more revenue at her opening night in Glendale, Arizona than the Superbowl had in February of 2023. Most concert-goers spend an average of 1,300-1,500 dollars per concert, accounting for outfits, hotels, restaurants, and travel. Her tour infused 450 million dollars into the United States economy, and even generated 12 million pesos and hotel occupancy of about 70 percent in Mexico. 

“I’ve read it being described as a summer of female empowerment,” said Dr. Liu, “It’s really been a glorious summer in many ways, to have Beyoncé’s tour, Taylor’s tour, the Barbie movie, right, and all of this spending, coming in large part, obviously not exclusively, but from girls and women.” 

Beyoncé’s tour also had an impact on economies around the world. Sweden’s interest rates surged, and Sweden’s monthly inflation went up 0.3 percentage points, partly because of concert tickets. Additionally, hotel prices rose in Paris by 4.3 percent in May, when she was touring there. In London, sales surged up by 30 percent in shopping districts; local businesses also experienced an increase in traffic. According to the New York Times, by the end of her tour, Beyoncé will have generated almost 4.5 billion dollars for the American economy, which is around the same amount of money that the 2008 Beijing Olympics contributed to the city. 

There is no doubt that this impact is extraordinary, including for people on the Hilltop. India said, “I think it’s pretty cool that something that seems pretty surface level could have such a deep impact on the state of the economy overall. I think it’s really impressive, I think it’s not super common to come by two individual artists that could sell out whole stadiums in such a close time frame.”

Mr. King also commented on the amount of effort that the two artists put into these concerts, and their music in general, saying, “I just marvel at the talent and the energy, and the stamina, and all of that. I mean, it looks pretty glorious, but it also looks pretty darn exhausting, and you have no privacy. Like your life is in the public eye. And I will say my favorite moment of the Beyoncé concert was when her daughter came out on stage. That’s one of the loudest places I’ve ever been in my life.” 

Some experts have argued that consumers will keep spending lots of money on concerts and other forms of live entertainment, while others argue that the impact of these tours is only temporary. The idea of “funflation” is a word being introduced when talking about the recent trends of consumer experiences; it refers to the trend of opposing traditional consumer behaviors like buying products, and instead spending money on experiences, during times of inflation. Bank of America experts argue that “funflation” will have sustainable, longer-term outcomes that will fuel growth for many years, due to a few different factors including the rise of spending money on experiences, supply and demand fueled by social media, live events being a unique experience and incomparable to recorded events, and experiential marketing and sponsorships. 

Mr. Sykes thinks it is unlikely that something else like these two concerts, specifically the “Eras Tour,” will boast a major effect on the economy moving forward. “Taylor Swift is a phenomenon like none I’ve seen before. Her impact and the attention and money that has surrounded her tour is unprecedented. I would be surprised if this becomes the norm moving forward, with tours earning over a billion dollars and an apparent impact of over 4 billion dollars on the overall economy,” he said.

Similarly, an analyst team at Bloomberg argues that this economic boost will be temporary, as neither Beyoncé nor Swift is performing in the United States at the end of this calendar year, and “Barbenheimer,” which also gave the United States an economic boost, is an event that is very unlikely to occur again, also arguing that the economy is vulnerable to a drop in demand. 

India said, “I think it might be a bit short term, just because it feels like it’s a very post-covid boom. A lot of people, because of COVID, they want to get out and they want to go places, and there’s so many great concerts to go to right now that really could help with that.”

Regardless of the outcome of the concerts in the next few years, the two women have clearly made a remarkable impact on the United States economy and economies around the world. 

“Sometimes they are pitted against each other, right, and I really hate that. Because I think like, you know, one of the tours out of the two is going to be the highest-grossing tour, the other is going to be the second. Whoever it is, I feel like we should celebrate both, and not necessarily try to almost, like, pit them against each other, which I feel is something that some of their obnoxious fans do,” said Dr. Liu. 

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