Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has carved a unique path in the annals of live entertainment, setting a new benchmark for superstar concert tours. The tour’s recent 52-date run across the United States has not only captured daily headlines but also catapulted Taylor Swift to an even loftier peak of superstardom. In fact, it is rumored to have elevated her to billionaire status, according to Bloomberg. Since its kickoff on March 17 in Glendale, Arizona, this blockbuster tour has redefined the rules of the game, and it’s poised to break the $1 billion mark in ticket sales, surpassing the previous record set by Elton John at $939 million in July.
What makes Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour a groundbreaking success, and what lessons can other artists glean from her journey? While it’s essential to acknowledge that not all artists have the same level of cultural influence as Swift, there are valuable tactics that she employed to generate maximum exposure and captivate her audience. In this article, we’ll delve into the key strategies that Swift has employed, ranging from building flexibility into her touring schedule to orchestrating viral moments and setting unprecedented tour duration standards. As Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour gears up for a second round, here are nine invaluable insights for other artists to consider.
1. Build Flexibility Into Your Touring Schedule
Traditional tours are often meticulously planned to move from the first show to the last as quickly as possible, minimizing downtime. However, Swift’s Eras Tour introduced a novel approach. When she initially announced the tour in November 2022, each stop was scheduled on weekends in different cities. This extended setup and teardown period allowed her the flexibility to add shows on weekdays for fans who missed out on tickets during the initial sale. Consequently, Swift expanded her original 27-date announcement to a total of 52 shows, nearly doubling the number of fans who could experience her historic tour. This flexibility demonstrates how artists can adapt their touring schedules to meet fluctuating demand, enhancing fan engagement and overall success.
2. Trust That the Fans Will Travel To See You
The Eras Tour’s logistics require multiple days and crew members to set up and dismantle the production in each city. This necessitates fans to travel to major market hubs, some driving hundreds of miles to attend. While it may seem daunting for an artist to expect fans to undertake such journeys, it allows for higher production values and more immersive stagecraft. Fans who travel longer distances often have a better overall experience, which fosters strong word-of-mouth and contributes to the tour’s success.
3. If You Have a Deep Discography, Lean Into It
Swift’s approach to her tour setlists is distinctive. Unlike many artists who focus on their most recent material or classic hits, Swift treats every phase of her career with equal importance. She recreates her entire discography on stage, allowing fans to relive her journey album by album. While this approach may not be feasible for artists with fewer albums or hits, it works well for established artists with substantial discographies. Swift’s strategy ensures that fans of all ages can connect with her music, creating an inclusive experience.
4. Orchestrate Viral Moments To Keep Your Tour In the Headlines
One of the striking features of Swift’s Eras Tour is its ability to generate headlines at each performance. Swift and her team have engineered viral moments throughout the tour. These include recurring acts such as giving her “22” fedora to young fans and adding two new surprise songs to the setlist every night. These moments, along with special guest appearances and reveals, keep the tour in the news cycle. While not every artist can command headlines like Swift, the strategy of creating viral moments can benefit other high-profile artists in maintaining tour visibility.
5. Change Up the Setlist to Make Each Show Feel Unique
Swift’s decision to include two surprise songs each night, one performed acoustically on guitar and the other on piano, demonstrates her ingenuity. Fans can attend multiple shows with the guarantee of experiencing something new, creating anticipation and excitement. This approach also ensures that each show makes news and generates online virality. Despite the challenges posed by the tour’s duration, Swift’s commitment to surprising her audience pays off in fan enthusiasm and media attention.
6. Create Merch That Can Only Be Purchased In-Person at Shows
Show-specific merchandise adds a sense of exclusivity to live events. While it may lead to long lines at the venue, it fosters a communal aspect that enhances the overall experience. Owning a piece of merchandise unique to a specific show allows fans to say, “I was there,” and serves as a lasting memento of the event.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Put On a Long Show
Swift’s decision to present a marathon-length show defied convention. Many artists, even prominent ones, might hesitate to perform for such extended durations. However, Swift correctly gauged the demand for her live experience after a prolonged touring hiatus. With an extensive catalog of songs, she was able to provide a comprehensive, immersive show that left her devoted fanbase satisfied. While not every artist can adopt this approach, those who perform in stadiums and charge premium prices should strive to ensure fans feel they received their money’s worth.
8. Be Generous With the Crew
Swift’s generosity towards her crew, including bonuses for truck drivers and other team members, has garnered positive press. While not every artist can match the magnitude of her contributions, looking out for one’s team within budget constraints should be a priority. Swift’s actions set an example of caring for the people who contribute to the success of a tour.
9. Planning To Release a Concert Film? Consider a Non-Traditional Distribution Model
Swift’s concert film from the Eras Tour achieved unprecedented success by debuting with $92.8 million in its opening weekend and grossing significantly in theaters. Her unique distribution deal with AMC Theatres allowed her to retain a substantial portion of the film’s profits, bypassing traditional studios and distributors. This model has the potential to reshape the concert film industry, encouraging other music stars to explore non-traditional distribution approaches and increase their earnings.
In conclusion, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has redefined the live music landscape with its innovative strategies. While not all artists can replicate her success due to differing circumstances and fan bases, there are valuable lessons to be learned from her trailblazing journey. By incorporating flexibility into touring schedules, orchestrating viral moments, and adapting to the demands of a deep discography, artists can enhance their live performances and engage fans on a new level. Swift’s commitment to creating unique experiences, providing show-specific merchandise, and treating her crew generously sets a positive example for the industry. Moreover, her success in concert film distribution demonstrates the potential for non-traditional models to revolutionize the industry. As Taylor Swift embarks on round 2 of her Eras Tour, other artists can draw inspiration from her remarkable achievements in the world of live music.
Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.
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