The first reason is the obvious one—Swift’s tours are massively successful. Here are a few highlights from “The Red Tour” in 2013-2014:
• 86 shows on four continents
• 1.7 million tickets sold (100 percent sold out)
• US$150 million in total revenue
• Swift became the first female solo artists since Madonna (1993) to headline a stadium tour in Australia, including the first sold out show—ever—by a female artist at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Dec. 4, 2013 (source)
The other reason Swift’s new album might matter to venues is a bit more obscure, but can be pieced together when looking at the mix of ingredients that have helped Swift achieve such resounding success. In a report by Sam Sanders with @NPRmusic, three notable efforts by Swift and her label are explored, and here is a summary of two of them:
1. Swift keeps her brand in the tangible world
Whether it’s the run of talk shows or the private viewing concert she hosted in her house, Swift keeps a real-world connection to her audience, reinforcing the popularity of experiencing her live instead of through headphones. So much so, that we have point No. 2:
2. Swift is pulling her music off of the Internet, but not out of the venue
The NPR article cites a few potential reasons that Swift pulled her entire catalog off of Spotify (including her label possibly being on the market), but part of the decision seems to stay consistent with Swift’s focus on her audience experiencing more than a digital file. Swift packed the physical 1989 CD with photos, additional recordings, and secondary content that clearly differentiate the final product from a stream or download. To truly experience Swift’s content, you’ll need to look offline, and each venue on her upcoming, 57-stop tour will play a pivotal role in fulfilling this distinct business model.
Currently, it does not look like anyone can quickly replicate Swift’s decisions, or her success, but her ability to transcend current norms (like online streaming) might chart a course for a future trend yet to be defined. Venues and tours collaborating on new ways to support a tangible fan-to-artist dynamic (like Swift’s) could be instrumental in ushering in the next chapter of experiences only available to those with a ticket to an upcoming show.
Read or listen to the full NPR article here.
(Image: Eva Rinaldi)