Taylor Swift’s Eras tour could be the first ever to gross $1 billion

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Taylor Swift Eras Tour

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Photo credit: Ronald Woan / CC from 2.0

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is on track to be the biggest in concert history, possibly the first to gross $1 billion and breaking the record for worldwide concert tours currently held by Elton John.

A deep dive The Wall Street Journal About Taylor Swift’s earnings from her Eras tour sets the stage for the largest worldwide concert tour in history, with the potential to gross over $1 billion. This milestone would see Swift break the record for such tours currently held by Elton John and would set a new standard for show revenue and concert industry revenue — and potentially herald an era of even higher ticket prices.

Music execs have been speculating for months about how much Taylor Swift’s tour has brought in. In a move unorthodox for the industry, Swift doesn’t report her nightly earnings to Billboard Boxscore after each show, but plans to report them later, according to Dave Brooks, Billboard’s senior director of live music and touring. That decision has raised many questions about how much the superstar makes and how those numbers might change expectations of other artists.

Last week, Swift announced dozens more international dates for her tour, which will take her to South America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Her original 52-date US tour concludes in August, after which she will do another 54 shows abroad – bringing her total to 106 shows by next summer. And maybe she’ll add more dates.

Swift’s incredible touring success has coincided with a market boom in arena and stadium shows from the likes of Beyoncé and Madonna. Per-show revenue for blockbuster tours “is higher than ever,” Brooks says, with higher prices for general admission, aisle seating, and VIP packages helping partially offset a significant jump in costs.

Yet despite complaining about the prices, concert-goers continue to spend to see their favorite big-name artists, boosting industry revenues, which are increasingly focused on performances by only the world’s biggest artists. This is also reflected in the fact that smaller performances in clubs, theaters and music festivals are struggling to cover the rising costs. For Swift fans, it’s not all about ticket prices, it’s about securing the coveted tickets in the first place.

“What we’re seeing on this particular Taylor tour is almost like a one-time phenomenon,” said Jarred Arfa, Billy Joel’s co-agent and chief operating officer of Artist Group International. “It’s pretty amazing.”

Based on interviews with senior concert executives, Swift’s Era Tour WSJ analysis examines how much revenue her shows generate from ticket sales and how much she makes from take-home profit. The music industry tracks superstar concert tours by gross concert ticket receipts provided by the artists. These numbers are used to evaluate successful tours every year.

Elton John holds the record for highest-grossing world tour with his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, which began in 2018 and will conclude in July. That tour has grossed over $887 million, surpassing previous record-holder Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour from 2017-2019, which grossed $776 million.

In December, Billboard estimated that Swift’s 52-date US leg would gross about $590 million, with average ticket prices of $215. But with Swift performing 106 shows worldwide, it could surpass the record-breaking $1 billion mark.

However, top tickets in the US tend to cost 20-30% more than elsewhere, making the US the most lucrative touring market. As such, Swift’s 54 international shows aren’t worth as much as their American shows, but some overseas venues are larger, allowing for more concert-goers and revenue.

Even the naysayers are estimating Swift will earn between $700 million and $900 million, eclipsing her previous stadium tour in 2018, which grossed around $345 million from 53 shows and an average ticket price of $119 -dollars scored. However, revenue and profit are two different things; Some executives estimate that Swift takes home 40% to 60% of its estimated $10 million average gross per show, while others suggest that number is likely less than 50%.