At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Taylor Swift takes the stage for the opening night of her “Eras Tour” in March 2023.
We are merely residing in the world of the pop queen: As 2023 sees a boom of events, industry observers wonder if Tay or Bey will announce the first billion-dollar tour.
Following years of live entertainment cancellations and postponements due to the epidemic, hundreds of celebrities have hit the road, fueling a burgeoning arena business. Taylor Swift and Beyonce are just two of these celebrities.
Stadiums around the United States and beyond are preparing for what is expected to be the largest year for live music on record with performances by Pink, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, SZA, and The Weeknd.
“I have never seen as many artists out at the same time, in the same space,” Stacy Merida, an American University professor who specializes in the economics of music, told AFP.
Madonna, who invented the modern tour as we know it today with lavish sets and costumes, was scheduled to start a career-spanning tour in the middle of July but had to cancel it due to sickness.
The 64-year-old is scheduled to begin her European leg of performances in October and postpone her North American performances.
With 106 remaining gigs on her “Eras” tour, it is therefore 33-year-old Swift who is currently close to the $1 billion threshold.
As Beyonce begins the North American portion of her “Renaissance” tour, the odds are also in her favor.
If either of them crosses the historic threshold, they will surpass Elton John.
In June 2023, the iconic British musician Elton John will take the stage at the Glastonbury festival in the village of Pilton, in the southwest of England.
Oli SCARFF/AFP/File is the photographer. AFP
According to Billboard Boxscore, his just concluded “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, which started in 2018, has brought in more than $910 million as of June 18, just a few weeks before his final performance in Stockholm on July 8.
John had outperformed Ed Sheeran’s 2017–2019 “Divide” tour, which brought in $776 million.
Increasing ticket prices have contributed to the present surge; Sheeran charged just under $100 for “Divide,” according to tracker Pollstar, but performed at more than 200 concerts.
For basic seats, the average cost of tickets for Bey and Tay is more than twice that amount.
More tickets have already been sold for concerts in 2023, according to Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, than it did for the entire year of 2019.
During the second quarter of this year, the corporation reported $4.4 billion in sales while promoting almost 12,500 shows to 33.5 million spectators.
According to Live Nation’s most recent earnings report, “with most of the world fully re-opened, it’s clear that concerts remain a high priority for fans.”
Beyonce’s first concert of the “Renaissance” tour, which began in Solna, Sweden, in May 2023, had a line of fans waiting to get into the Friends Arena.
Even while demand has increased, there has been tremendous discontent about Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s privileged position.
Concertgoers have long complained about inflated prices, rampant scalpers, hidden fees, and a lack of tickets due to presales.
After Swift’s tour’s bungled ticket sales caused mayhem earlier this year, the issue flared up again, leading to a congressional hearing over alleged anti-competitive practices and fervent calls for the corporation to be broken up.
Although that doesn’t seem likely, ticket prices are rising anyway, and fans are continuing to pay for them.
“The vertical integrated monopoly really has a lot of ripple effects in terms of prices,” said Andrew Leff, a lawyer and former member of the music industry who now teaches at USC.
“Simple supply-and-demand economics,” he told AFP, “if you’re Ticketmaster and you can charge whatever you want and you have no competition, and a demand for Taylor Swift or Beyonce comes along.
They have the freedom to charge whatever they like, which is what they do.
Leff also asserts that smaller bands aren’t necessarily benefiting from the concert boom.
He declared, “Really, there are two music industries.” There are two types of the music industry: one for the one percent and one for the 99 percent.
“Unless you’re playing in front of 500 or more people every night, you’re probably not even breaking even.”
It’s a well-known fact that touring is expensive yet essential for musicians whose streaming royalties are infamous for being meager.
However, there is rivalry for everything from venues to tour buses now that everyone is out on the road and seeking to make up lost earnings from the epidemic years.
The independent musician Santigold was one of the first to discuss the difficulties affecting artists like her last fall. She also called off her tour, claiming she was “simply unable to make it work,” in part because of inflation and the intense competition in a crowded market.
According to recent estimates from the research firm QuestionPro, Swift’s tour may bring in over $4.6 billion in consumer spending in the United States alone, boosting businesses like hotels and eateries.
Queen Bey’s “Renaissance” tour also resulted in a “Beyonce blip” in Stockholm in May, which increased Sweden’s inflation rate by around 0.2 percentage points.
At the time, Michael Grahn, chief economist for Sweden at Danske Bank, stated that it appeared that May’s inflation was colored by Beyonce’s beginning of her global tour in Sweden.