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The Legend of Taylor Swift

I'm a big fan of NFL Football. Unfortunately, my team, the Seattle Seahawks, have not enjoyed much success in the past several years. So when the Superbowl comes around I'm largely apathetic to the outcome. In those years when I don't have a dog in the fight, I just hope for a good game. This year, Superbowl 58, was definitely that. The Chiefs beat the 49ers in overtime (Only the 2nd OT Superbowl ever). 

But my enjoyment of the game was tainted by something. TAYLOR SWIFT. 

Now before you crucify me for bashing this global sweetheart, I have nothing against Taylor. I don't listen to her music, but she genuinely seems like a good person. Her music is loved by millions and she's spreading enormous amounts of joy around the world. 

I just couldn't stand the countless "pan to Taylor" camera shots during every Chiefs game. I know it's good for the NFL (Estimates say Swift's brand has created $300+ million in brand value for the Chiefs and the NFL), but it just seemed to take away from the football. 

We watched the Superbowl with some friends. One young man didn't know the basic rules of the game but was fiercely cheering for the Chiefs because... You guessed it, he's a Swiftie. It just felt like people were joining the club for the wrong reasons. 

But I'd like to push to the side my "she's taking away from the purity of the sport" stupidity and look at the legend of Taylor Swift. 

Taylor will play more than 140 concerts across five continents in 2023 and 2024. Each Eras show grosses around $13 million. Predictions are that revenue for the Eras tour will surpass $4 billion.

The sheer gravity of the Swift Supernova sends ripples across every economy she touches. One study estimated that just two Swift performances in Colorado created $140 million in consumer spending.

It is estimated that fans have been spending more than $1,300 on average to prep for their night with Taylor. The Eras tour could generate up to $4.6 billion in consumer spending for the U.S. economy.

She is the top artist on both Apple and Spotify with 26.1 billion streams. She just surpassed Elvis Presley for the most cumulative weeks spent at #1 on the Billboard 200. She is the most awarded artist in American Music Awards history. Her net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion. 

She's only 34!

Needless to say, Swift is an economic and musical juggernaut. But how did she achieve these dizzying heights of success? Below are just a few of the reasons why Taylor Swift is a business legend.


Swift's original recording label, Big Machine Records, sold the master rights to her recordings to a private equity group. This meant Swift had zero control of her music. In an unprecedented retaliatory move, Swift began re-recording her first six albums ("Taylor's Version"). Giving her control over the master rights to the new records.  


When Swift chose to release her concert performance as a movie*, she self-funded the $55 million production cost. She also side-stepped Hollywood studios and went directly to movie theatres. *The fact that fans are paying to see a movie of a concert tour that is ongoing is mind-blowing. 

Over Deliver

Swift knows her fans spend a lot of money to attend her concerts and that it's a massive deal for them. So she's gone all-in with her stadium show. The staging of each show, which includes 10 different sets, takes 2-3 weeks to transport and set up. 


During the release of her 1989 album, Swift organized secret listening sessions for her fans across various cities. Select "super fans" were invited to hear the album before it was released. But here is the amazing part - these parties took place with Taylor Swift at her home!  Swift would sit and chat with the fans while listening to unreleased music. Any company can throw a product pre-release party, but these sessions created an unparalleled level of connection with her Swifties. 


Swift astounded the industry when she announced she would share profits with her Eras crew. She is gifting $55 million in bonuses to all the behind-the-scenes folks who make the shows happen (e.g. Backup dancers, sound technicians, truck drivers, caterers, etc.)

Even though I'd like to keep my Swift and my sports separate, there is much we can learn from this business legend. 



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