Swiftflation 101: Taylor Swift's Eras Tour and its Economic Echoes

24 August 2023 by Lifetime

Swiftflation 101: Taylor Swift's Eras Tour and its Economic Echoes

Recently, you may have heard the term “Swiftflation” thrown about in the news.

Swiftflation relates to the boost in the local economies left in the wake of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Swift’s tour has seen unparalleled popularity and is predicted to become the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, and by a lot, with an expected $1-$1.4 billion in sales. That title is currently held by Elton John with his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour between 2018-2023, which grossed $939 million in comparison.

The tour is a celebration of Swifts’s ten albums or “eras”, spanning over three hours with a 44-song setlist divided into 10 acts to encompass each Taylor Swift era. The show also includes two different surprise songs that aren’t on the regular setlist, and with the way the stage stretches out into the floor, there’s no bad seat at a Taylor Swift concert, even if you are way up high in the nosebleeds.

But, along with the Eras Tour comes the dedicated fans that have been consistently filling up stadiums night after night. According to Business Insider, the average Swiftie has spent $1,300 (USD) to attend the Eras tour. This includes, tickets, accommodation, parking, and the extras that come with a night out at the Eras Tour. A lot goes into a fan’s preparation for the concert beyond the basic travel costs. Some fans have been preparing for months for the big night, and quite possibly the most crucial aspect is the fashion. Your outfit is the most obvious way of showing your dedication as a fan to Taylor Swift over the span of her career. Some fans choose to recreate an iconic red-carpet outfit she may have worn, others dress in reference to an inside joke, and some choose to take inspiration from a song or specific lyric. It’s also become a tradition to make and trade friendship bracelets leading to some fans leaving venues with bracelets extending all the way up their forearms. This level of coordination highlights the importance the fans put on these concerts and the feat it has made in bringing people together since the pandemic. Humans are excited for their lives to return to normal again, and it shows.

Where the Swifties get involved, the locals come to the party too. Many business owners have taken advantage of the mania that descends on their cities for the nights that the Eras Tour is in town and have certainly reaped the benefits in doing so. In one case, the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville, Tennessee fast-tracked a Taylor-themed exhibit to be done in time for her Nashville shows. The exhibit displayed some of her most iconic outfits over the years. Usually, these exhibits take up to four years to curate, in this case, the museum pulled the exhibit together in five months before Swift stopped by the city to perform for three nights in May. That month was the museum’s best month in history, with 114,000 tickets sold over the period.

 

It is predicted that the Eras Tour could have a $5 billion economic impact on the US overall, creating a GDP larger than 50 countries.

This extreme hype has led to a boost in the local economy of cities that the Eras Tour has stopped. During her stints in Chicago and Minneapolis, all-time records were set for hotel capacity and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said it was the strongest month of hotel revenue since the pandemic, and this was largely due to the Eras Tour. For cities that are facing a lull in this post-COVID economy, the increased foot traffic and spending is a welcome relief for business owners. As of June 2023, the tour had grossed over $300 million USD, having sold more than 1.1 million tickets with an average price of $253 USD ($425 NZD) per ticket[1]. It is predicted that the Eras Tour could have a $5 billion economic impact on the US overall, creating a GDP larger than 50 countries, including the likes of Fiji and Sierra Leone[2].

It's not just the city’s business owners getting involved, it’s the politicians too. Glendale, Arizona was temporarily renamed “Swift City” while she played her opening shows of the tour. Taylor was also named an honorary mayor of Santa Clara, California in late July. Unsurprisingly, upon hearing about the potential economic boost the show might bring, leaders from Thailand, Chile, and Canada have all taken to Twitter to request that the Eras Tour make a stop-over in their countries.

Recently, news came to light that Taylor Swift had gifted the truck drivers and various other crew members on her tour bonuses of $100,000 along with a handwritten letter. This reportedly equaled more than $55 million in bonuses alone, approximately 7.5% of Swift’s net worth. The lump sum has been described as a “game changer” by Shomotion’s Mike Scherkenbach, who stated that many of the drivers are able to use the bonuses towards buying their first homes.  

 

Flights to accommodate more than 2,000 seats have been arranged around the concert dates, and to celebrate, some flights have been named ‘NZ1989’ after Swift’s 5th studio album which is set to re-release in October this year.

Despite the fact that New Zealand didn’t make it on the list of stops along the international leg of the tour, the demand from Kiwi fans to secure tickets to at least one of her seven Australian shows in Melbourne and Sydney in February of 2024 has been high.  Extra flights to accommodate more than 2,000 seats have been arranged around the concert dates, and to celebrate, some flights have been named ‘NZ1989’ after Swift’s birth year and 5th studio album which is set to re-release in October this year. Ticketek Australia noted that the national record was broken when the tickets for the first five shows were released, with over 4 million people accessing the website to compete for the 450,000 tickets available.  In response to the demand, two more shows were added to the schedule and sold out just as quickly.

As the Eras Tour unfolds, its potential economic impact becomes an intriguing subject of speculation. While still in its early stages, it is almost certain that it will become the highest-grossing concert tour in history.  The tour's early momentum has seen unprecedented fan engagement providing a boost in the local tourism industry along with increasing accommodation and travel costs. While the complete ramifications are still uncertain, it's evident that the Eras Tour is poised to not only revolutionise the entertainment industry but also provide the perfect outlet for people to return to normal life in the post-COVID era.

 

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/taylor-swift-eras-tour-bonuses-100000-truck-drivers-crew/

[2] https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/us-news/2023/08/10/taylor-swifts-eras-tour-brings-jolt-of-energy-to-us-economy/

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