Taylor Swift challenges the status quo and continues to adapt and improve her product while continuously delighting her customers—some of the most loyal fans in music. Executives of a certain age might dismiss the entertainment superstar as an icon seen only in their children’s eyes. To dismiss Swift’s impact is to miss her business juggernaut built in less than 20 years.
The Taylor Swift Eras Tour Experience
Over the holidays, we were fortunate to have all four adult daughters and their families visit. As with many families, Amazon Prime played a prominent role in our entertainment options, allowing for simultaneous gathering, conversation, and occasional watching. One such program was the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert—a three-hour event purchased for $20.
For those not familiar, the Eras Tour highlights several eras of Taylor Swift’s life and career—although only 34, the eras come through clearly. The songs are all known by heart to her audiences. Most parents know enough of the words to recognize the many hits. The tour resonates with various age groups who came to know Taylor Swift during their own Swift era.
Decoding Taylor Swift’s Success
How does a single superstar, at the age of 34, outdo Elvis to claim the title of most songs on the Billboard 200 of ANY solo singer? 68 weeks on the charts, including a run with 13 songs in the Billboard 200. Look a bit closer, and you’ll see some potential learning points.
- Taylor Swift began her career in the country music genre as a teenager, quickly rose to create top hits, and then made the decision to leave country music. Swift saw a new direction and made a counterintuitive move at the time to go all in on pop music. She didn’t cling to her current success; she broke free to pursue a more passionate dream.
- Taylor Swift recognized the strength of her thought leadership in the music industry and forced changes in how artists were compensated in the emerging streaming environment. Industry giants like Spotify were directly challenged by Swift. She first spoke out, then voted with her feet by removing her content from the streaming service. Swift did this not for herself but for the good of the industry in pursuit of fair compensation through earned royalties.
- The mere threat of her doing it again a year later caused Apple to change its tune as well. Apple was failing to pay royalties during the free trial periods of Apple iTunes. Swift called it out, and Apple complied rather than lose her from their service.
- Taylor Swift is perceived as highly accessible to her fans. She appears unannounced at weddings, responds to occasional social media queries, and surprises fans with opportunities to meet her in person—free of charge. She does not attempt to monetize every fan engagement and achieves multi-million dollar returns on the small investment of time.
- Taylor Swift challenged the methods of the global sale of concert tickets and created her own sales channel, again leading on her own and producing economic wins for her fans.
The Genius Business Move: Eras Tour on Amazon Prime
The Eras tour is an early-to-mid-life best-of-best concert, delivered through a creative new platform for a concert. For those not able to pay hundreds of dollars to see a live show, a highly dynamic performance comes through in her 3-hour special—this counterintuitive move to effectively sell access to her full catalog of music for only $20 works. The real business move here? The $20 buys 48 hours of access. How many fans do you think paid more than once? From my small sample within my family, I can confirm people buy more than once!
Leading in 2024
As you begin 2024, how are you leading in your own industry or even your industry segment? Is there ANYTHING different you plan to do in 2024, or are you merely rerunning the same playbook?
It’s not too late, but as you read this, we’re already in the year’s second week. Go get ’em.
For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring® Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.