This has been Taylor Swift’s year. Everything, and everyone, she touches seems to turn to gold.
Swift’s net worth crossed the $1 billion mark on the back of this year’s success, and her “Eras Tour” could be more accurately called the “Records Tour” because of all the records she broke. It is currently the second-highest-grossing tour of all time and looks set to surpass Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour next year. The concert film currently in theaters, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a concert film, raking in $96 million in its first four days. What’s more, “The Eras Tour” still doesn’t have a streaming deal and is poised to be a major get for whichever service Swift decides to make the film’s home.
What does the success of the “Eras Tour” movie mean for other artists? The music business has shifted in the streaming era toward a model where touring constitutes a more important source of revenue for musicians. Has the success in theaters of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” shown a new path forward for artists to monetize their work? Or is Taylor Swift alone able to draw the audience size that makes sense for a theatrical release?
To put some numbers against how much Taylor Swift leads the field of musical talent this year:
Year to date (Jan. 1-Oct. 31, 2023) Taylor Swift has been the number one talent with U.S. audiences across all professions, with an average demand of 326.1x more than the average talent.
This is significantly ahead of the next most in-demand musicians Beyonce (157.5x), Rihanna (150.7x), Drake (139.9x), and Nicki Minaj (136.1x).
This year Swift first reached her No. 1 rank in the U.S. on March 13, a few days before the Eras Tour kicked off. She has been the number one talent with U.S. audiences every single day since May 28.
The audience demographic data for Taylor Swift as an individual and for her new concert movie shows just how much of a hold she has on the young female audience. Taylor Swift’s audience is 72.4% female and 44.2% Gen Z, and the audience for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is 76.8% female and 46.6% Gen Z, underscoring that the movie skews even more towards younger female audiences. As a point of reference, Beyonce’s audience is more evenly split — 61.8% female and 29.1% Gen Z.
Another concert film making waves this year (to be fair, more like ripples in comparison to “The Eras Tour”) is the 40th-anniversary re-release of Talking Heads’ acclaimed movie “Stop Making Sense.” This movie has an audience that is almost the inverse of “The Eras Tour” in terms of its demographics, skewing male and is heavily tilted towards the over-40 age group.
Which platforms would make sense as homes for these movies after they are done with their theatrical run? Netflix, which is the streaming home for Swift’s 2020 documentary “Miss Americana,” has the most female-skewing audience for its on-platform content (58.3% female). It also has the largest share of its audience under 30 (56.6%). Based on this, Netflix would be a natural streaming home for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.” Conversely, Max or Apple TV+ which sit at the other end of the spectrum would make sense for “Stop Making Sense.”
We’ve been focused on what the music industry can learn from Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour, but one lesson Taylor can take from Talking Heads is that a piece of content like “Stop Making Sense” can continue to be monetized long into the future. Here’s looking forward to the 2063 re-release of “The Eras Tour.”
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