taylor swift tour earnings

Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Beyonce: Inside the race for the first ever billion dollar tour

They are making BANK

It doesn’t take a genius to work out the world’s biggest pop stars are making serious money. Harry Styles is on his second round of sequin-enshrined Love on Tour shows. Beyoncé is two months into her Renaissance worldwide takeover and, after selling out stadiums across the US, Taylor Swift just sent Europe into meltdown by releasing tickets for her Eras tour as far ahead as August next year, with some re-selling for over £2,500.

No global superstar has ever made a billion dollars from a tour. Elton John holds the record for the highest-grossing after his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour made $817million in 2018. But as frenzy around Harry, Taylor and Beyoncé continues to climb, the pop icons are getting ever closer to securing the almost unfathomable figure. And the race has never been closer. 

How much has Harry Styles made on tour? 

Harry Styles

If it feels like Harry Styles has been on tour forever, that’s because he has. Love on Tour has had seven legs, spanning 22 months—starting in September 2021 in Vegas and set to finish (finally) this 22 July in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Get this man a holiday. 

On the first US leg of Love on Tour, Harry sold 719,000 tickets to fans, grossing $95 million. From the 23 shows in Europe last summer, Love on Tour made another $55 million. By April this year, Billboard confirmed Harry had broken into the top ten highest-grossing tours of all time with $400million in ticket sales— and three more months of shows have been played since then. 

How much has Beyoncé made on tour? 

Beyonce tour earnings

Credit: Shutterstock

Despite a rumoured foot injury, which fans said inhibited her dancing throughout her opening performances, Beyonce’s European leg of her Renaissance world tour made $154 Million in 21 shows. And the tour isn’t even halfway done. 

In May, Forbes reported Beyoncé would beat Taylor Swift to the billion dollar tour if she kept working at this pace. In total, they expected Renaissance to earn a humongous $2.1billion— some $500 million more than the $1.6 billion they suspected Taylor would earn from Eras. But then TayTay released her UK, Europe and Asia dates and the tables seemingly turned again. 

How much has Taylor Swift made on tour? 

Taylor Swift tour earnings

Credit: Shutterstock

Taylor is making more than $13million a night on her Eras tour, Bloomberg have reported. She’s sold out stadiums all over the world with her highest ticket prices of her career and, with 131 performances now announced, she’s well on her way to a $2billion dollar tour if estimates are right. Either way, those in the know think she’s definitely beating Beyoncé. 

“I’m thinking about this in a business way,” says Annie House, senior strategist at creative studio OK COOL. “Taylor Swift is in the midst of a reclamation of power. She all of a sudden feels a lot more in on the joke than she ever has before and I think it’s winning a lot of people over.” 

Referencing the online conversations around Matty Healy and Joe Alwyn, Annie adds: “Beyoncé’s not as personal as Taylor Swift. People love her, she’s a deity in forms but, therefore, she’s not human and Taylor Swift is.

“On apps like TikTok especially, [where tour content thrives], humanness connects.” 

‘They want to go down in history’ 

More artists than ever are selling out massive stadiums. Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Bad Bunny— Pink. So, what’s going on? Why are we so obsessed with the huge tour experience? Annie thinks TikTok is the root cause of the ticket-snatching fomo effect as video after video of respective tours are shared. 

“TikTok is so good at creating these propulsive moments in culture,” she says. “These artists [Taylor, Beyoncé, Harry, etc] have frenzied fans at the best of times and those two things meeting has created quite the explosive event from these fans willing to live or die by the artist.

“TikTok is a platform which creates frenzy on an everyday level,” Annie points out. “Restaurants are fully booked, products are sold out. It creates frenzy, which then creates scarcity. So, these massive stadium tours, it’s those two propulsive forces meeting with one another.”

To enhance this momentum, artists “pander” to their performances’ shareability factor with their costumes and set design to create a viral moment, according to Annie: “TikTok is where culture is living and dying every day,” she says. “Artists want to sell out stadiums. They want to go down in history.” 

‘It makes sense to keep increasing prices’ 

Taylor swift tour

As tour earnings continue to rise and rise, it’s the fans who’re suffering with inflated ticket prices. But will the trend ever reverse? “There are obviously people who’re willing to pay,” says economics professor Marie Connolly. “So, in strict economic terms, if the artist’s goal is to maximise the revenue/profit then it makes sense to keep increasing the prices if you can still fill the venue. At some point, however, artists could face backlash from fans who feel priced out.”

When Taylor Swift tickets went on sale this week, thousands and thousands of fans still sat in the AXS queue, with their credit cards in hand. “Demand outstrips supply for the biggest acts and festivals and that has been the case for some time,” points out Andy Edwards, music business executive at UK Music

“Tickets sold since Covid have increased in price, and that is a factor. But for the biggest names it comes down to demand, and demand for the biggest names is higher than ever.”

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