How will we reclaim fun and community in a post-pandemic world? How do we encourage Americans to travel domestically and help local economies when Cinque Terre looks so nice on Instagram? How are we going to get people back in movie theaters? And what songs are we going to sing in the car to motivate us when we have to return to commuting?
It's them, hi, they're the solution, it's them.
In case you haven't heard, it's been an absurdly dominant year for Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. They've been accused of driving inflation, celebrated for helping local economies, and generally praised for the quality of their respective new albums and tours.
That dominance is expected to continue into the winter, as they both have concert movies coming out. "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour," premiered this week, while Beyoncé's is slated for December.
"This summer's blockbuster concert tours appear to have had a demonstrable impact on local economies," Brett House, a professor at Columbia Business school, told Kiplinger. "The Philadelphia Fed noted that May saw the strongest month for hotel revenue in the city since the onset of the pandemic, 'in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city.'"
Analysis of the pop stars' economic impact has spread far, with Bank of America researchers calling it part of "funflation" — whereby live entertainment is driving spending and shifting supply and demand in positive directions. The U.S. Travel Association noted the total economic impact of Swift's "Eras Tour" could exceed $10 billion. Northeastern University called it "Swiftonomics" or "Taylornomics," with associate professor Alicia Modestino praising Swift as "a smart businesswoman" in addition to "a very talented performer."
(It should be noted, too, that while she's raking in money on this tour, Swift also shared her wealth, giving bonuses totaling over $55 million to everyone who worked on her show, from dancers to truck drivers and caterers.)
And, of course, it's been impossible to ignore in many of our personal lives. One Kiplinger editor spent around $500 for tickets and travel expenses to see Beyoncé in the Midwest, where the cost of living is relatively low — and she and her friends already have a night scheduled to see the concert movie. One of my dear friends spent nearly half her summer city-hopping to catch the star's show three different times around the country.
As Kiplinger previously reported, some tickets are reselling for such high numbers it's a possible tax issue. But, House argues, rumors of T-Swift and Bey's impact on national inflation have been greatly exaggerated.
"Country-wide inflation numbers rarely move as a result of a single, local event, or even a series of local events such as these tours. These tours were and are big business, but they're not big enough to move the overall U.S. inflation needle," he said.
Still, it's an epic swirl of economic activity. First, you buy the special edition of the album. Then, you buy the concert tickets and flights or trains to the destination, along with booking a hotel if necessary. But you have to look the part, too, because the audiences are part of the experience: you'll buy the perfect outfit to play the part. Once you're there, there's the food, drinks, and don't forget about the merchandise. All driven by these two women, ironically once part of one of pop music's most scandalous moments.
Because of all that, House points out, "many fans will pull back their spending on other things," also lessening overall inflation impacts.
Like Disney's Marvel, Beyoncé and Swift have created entire universes around themselves, complete with lore, symbols and secret messages. Taylor regularly performs surprise songs during an acoustic set, so you have to go to both nights of the concert when she's in town to see what she'll play. Beyoncé's daughter has been making surprise appearances onstage, and fans have created "challenges" out of moments in the concerts, so you have to go in-person to prove your city is the best at following her lead and supporting her.
It's brilliant, all-encompassing brand work, coming from two icons playing with different spectrums of femininity, controlling narratives and influencing spending wherever they go. They're that girl.
- Concerts have become Events, driving spending. Keep an eye on your spending as a fan, using Kiplinger's guide to loving your favorite musician without going broke
- Experiences continue to have high values culturally as compared to objects — good to keep in mind for your holiday shopping
- If you want to build a powerful brand, it's not enough to just do quality work
- Don't underestimate pop stars, but also stop blaming them for national inflation
Alexandra Svokos is the senior digital editor of Kiplinger. She holds an MBA from NYU Stern in finance and management and a BA in economics and creative writing from Columbia University. Alexandra has a decade of experience in journalism, specializing in online newsrooms. She previously served as the senior editor of digital for ABC News, where she directed daily news coverage across topics through major events of the early 2020s for the network's website. Before that, she pioneered politics and election coverage for Elite Daily and went on to serve as the senior news editor for that group.
Alexandra was recognized with an "Up & Comer" award at the 2018 Folio: Top Women in Media awards, and she was asked twice by the Nieman Journalism Lab to contribute to their annual journalism predictions feature. She has also been asked to speak on panels and give presentations on the future of media, including by the Center for Communication and Twipe.
Why More Retirees Might Come Out of Retirement
It’s often not solely because of financial reasons, but because of a lack of purpose in retirement. This financial expert can relate.
By Chris Blunt Published
What Would Accreditation Change Mean for Real Estate Investors?
Investors determined by a test to be ‘financially savvy’ would be allowed to invest in ways that they can’t now without having a certain level of assets.
By Edward E. Fernandez Published