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The Retired Investor: The Economics of Taylor Swift
By Bill Schmick, iBerkshires columnist
05:42PM / Thursday, February 29, 2024

At this point, few would question the economic impact that Taylor Swift has had on the world. The sheer level of spending the singer has triggered among consumers is breathtaking. The ripple effect of her business affairs has produced unexpected profits for many corporations and even countries worldwide. No wonder she is the only person from the world of entertainment to ever be on the cover of Time magazine.
In my day, Michael Jackson was the pop star who took the world by storm. The "gloved one" was the record breaker in the music and entertainment business every week. He made millions for himself and others. But Taylor Swift, the "anti-hero" singer who has captured the minds and hearts of millions, has largely eclipsed Michael Jackson's rise.
She toppled Jackson's AMA awards record at the American Music Awards recently while her Grammy awards have also broken records. Taylor's worldwide Eras Tour has garnered more than $1.04 billion which is the first tour in history to top the billion-dollar mark. She pulled in an additional $261.6 million worldwide from her movie, "The Eras Tour," thus far. That box office success also surpassed Jackson's total global take of $261.2 million for "This Is It" back in 2009. "Eras" is the highest-grossing concert or performance film of all time, recognized by the 2023 Guinness World Records.
However, the global impact of Swift has far transcended her economic successes. The level of spending, sales, engagement, viewership, and business synergy continues to reach new heights. Her work is benefiting countless industries, companies, and even regions throughout the world. Hotel chains, restaurants, clothing companies, transportation services, theatres, and even tourism have received substantial boosts from her endeavors. 
Swift has boosted business in far-off places such as Singapore where her concert has attracted thousands of fans from all over Southeast Asia. In Japan, her appearances are expected to generate more than $230 million, which would make it the country's biggest-ever musical event in terms of economic impact. Mexico saw a big jump in tourism as well during the concerts she gave last August.
Here at home, Swift has already generated $4.6 billion in consumer spending at last count and is expected to exceed $5 billion before the end of the year. Ticketing companies saw their stocks rise as her stadium appearances around the country produced more than $554 million in sales. Her concerts in Chicago spiked the hotel occupancy rate in Illinois with 44,000 rooms sold. Another record in her trail of records.
Probably the most popular episode in Swift's super-charged life is her romance with Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce. Their relationship blossomed as the NFL played in the background. Her appearance at games is credited with a 53 percent increase in viewership of girls between the ages of 12 and 17. That was most remarkable given the total amount of her available screen time during the Chiefs' games was a mere 0.46 percent. Kelce's jersey sales spiked 400 percent overnight. Fast forward to the Super Bowl.
Thanks to Swift's participation, brand awareness received by the Superbowl was almost 10 times the exposure an advertiser received in a 30-second commercial. That was worth about $9,500,000 in free advertising for the game. At the same time, this year's Super Bowl viewership increased to 123.4 million viewers versus 115.1 million last year. But among women ages 18 to 24 viewership increased 24 percent from last year, according to Sports Media Watch.
Swiftonomics is the word most often used to describe the global impact of Taylor Swift. It is a phenomenon that is so novel that a University of Kansas professor has recently created a curriculum called "Swiftynomics 101" to study the economics of the 34-year-old pop star's effect on the NFL.
The media would have you believe that everything Taylor touches turns to gold. That may be true, but it is not luck or accident that makes it so. Yes, her bank account now totals more than $1.1 billion by most estimates. But she has earned every dime of it.
She has written and sung 250 songs, and 10 albums beginning at the ripe age of 16. It may be the reason she has almost 500 million followers on social media. Her Eras tour consisted of 66 concerts in 20 U.S. cities and four cities in Latin America. There are still another 85 concerts left to do. She sings 44 songs per concert no matter whether she is "sick, injured, heartbroken, uncomfortable or stressed," according to her Time interview. To say she works her tail off would be an understatement. Bloomberg estimates she pockets $13 million every night.
For millions of children and adults, it would be hard to imagine a better role model than Taylor Swift. As for her economic acumen, the Kansas teacher is on target. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Harvard or MIT has a case study or two for their next semester with Swift in mind.

Bill Schmick is the founding partner of Onota Partners, Inc., in the Berkshires. His forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of Onota Partners Inc. (OPI). None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-413-347-2401 or email him at

Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of OPI, Inc. or a solicitation to become a client of OPI. The reader should not assume that any strategies or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold, or held by OPI. Investments in securities are not insured, protected, or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. This communication may include opinions and forward-looking statements, and we can give no assurance that such beliefs and expectations will prove to be correct. Investments in securities are not insured, protected, or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. This communication may include opinions and forward-looking statements, and we can give no assurance that such beliefs and expectations will prove to be correct.


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