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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Gen Z’s Swiftie Era boosts entertainment spending

Photo by Photo via Ronald S Woan/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)
Taylor Swift

Last year, thousands of Swifties waited anxiously in Ticketmaster queues for Taylor Swift tickets that ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 
Some Swifties secured presale QR codes, hoping to find a seat amongst fans wearing colorful sequins and exchanging friendship bracelets.

“I’ve always connected to Taylor Swift as far as the lyrics she writes,” journalism senior Emily Godsey said. “My experience getting tickets was very unique. I was the only one in my family that got a presale code, and it was a lot of responsibility. I set an alarm, got up early, jumped in the queue and was ready to go.

“I remember looking at my laptop with half the screen on Ticketmaster waiting for the queue to open and half on the project I had to read for class,” Godsey said.

Godsey bought tickets for one of Swift’s three Eras Tour shows in Houston, where the average ticket price was over $1,000, according to TickPick.

Swift fans have changed how economists view the power of a fandom’s spending. It is not just Swifties who have shifted the gross domestic product, or GDP, but Generation Z has also shown it will do what it takes to secure tickets to live music experiences. 

Instead of a slow, steady return to pursuing live music experiences after pandemic lockdowns, Gen Z “shook it off” and took to entertainment spending. Funflation, a recent boom in consumer spending that has caused concert ticket prices to skyrocket, is a unique phenomenon, according to an analysis by Bank of America

This summer, Swift’s Eras Tour and Beyonce’s Renaissance tours may have added an estimated $5.4 billion to the U.S. GDP, according to Bloomberg Economics.
Live music is now the “brightest star” in the entertainment market, with 75% of Gen Z and Millennials reporting they prefer to spend money on experiences over products, according to a Bank of America report. 

While funflation has made paying $500 for a Taylor Swift ticket seem normal, Aggies once lined the block to see Elvis Presley for $1, Rob Clark, author of the book “Live from Aggieland,” said.

Aggies have hosted world-class acts before, Clark said, but the process of purchasing tickets looked very different. Garth Brooks, the second best-selling artist of all time according to billboard, held his last pre-retirement concert in College Station. 

“There was no more popular artist in the world at that point,” Clark said. “You had to have a wristband to buy tickets to the show, and then a couple days later you had to go back through a ticket lottery process.” 

Now, ticket purchasers can have the experience of waiting online, which can encourage and streamline ticket purchases, but comes with obstacles like added fees and website crashes.

Swift’s expansive fame and sweeping economic impact can be attributed to a new era of social media advertising and the increasing globalization of the music industry, according to the Bank of America report. Swifties have become economic powerhouses, turning concert outings into grand experiences that extend beyond ticket purchases, significantly impacting local businesses and the overall economy. 

Even after ticket fees, most Swifties opt to buy an Eras outfit, stay at a hotel and visit local tourist attractions, resulting in the creation of temporary boomtowns, according to The Wall Street Journal
Stops on Swift’s tour prepared for fans’ arrival with businesses creating limited-edition themed drinks like “Lavender Haze” and others selling donuts decorated with her iconic signature, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While tourism spending can get overwhelming, 6% of consumers said concerts are the last experience they would cut back spending on, according to a Live Nation survey

For concert aficionados on a budget, buying merchandise beforehand, skipping out on concessions and carpooling are great ways to save money, Brady Stone, Class of 2022, said.

“This year, I decided that any spending money I had, I wanted to spend on concerts, so I wouldn’t go out to eat and other things like that because I would rather spend it on a concert experience,” Stone said. 

An option in Aggieland is MSC Town Hall, which hosts free live music events on the Texas A&M campus and strives to bring musical acts from a variety of genres, MSC Town Hall Chair and mechanical engineering junior Elise Taylor said. 

“Alt-rock, indie pop — if they’re an artist from Texas, we’re probably trying to bring them here,” Taylor said. “We are always trying to serve the community and the student population so our events are free or low cost.”
Though Swift’s U.S. tour has ended, she has continued on her world tour and released the film version of The Eras Tour for fans. Swift subsequently shattered box office records for single-day advance ticket sales, according to a press release from AMC Theatres. 

The film release prompted fans to start an online discussion about whether it would be appropriate to sing in the theater. TikToks later captured fans dancing and joining hands, treating the film as if it were a true live concert experience, according to The Guardian.

For Swifties, choosing to indulge in tour tickets and merch isn’t merely a business transaction; it’s collectively living out their wildest fandom dreams.

“Being a Swiftie feels like being part of a family of millions of people,” Godsey said.
Valerie Muñoz is a journalism senior and contributed this article from the course JOUR 203 to The Battalion.

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