‘Swiftonomics’: Taylor Swift’s Potential Impact on New Zealand’s Economy

Default Profile ImageBen O'Connell
Taylor Swift's Economic Impact

Many Kiwis were disappointed when it was announced that mega popstar Taylor Swift wouldn’t be visiting New Zealand as part of her Eras World Tour.

Many crossed the ditch to witness Swift at her Melbourne and Sydney shows. 

Some estimated Swift’s seven-night tour stop in Australia generated about $1 billion. Dr Angel Zhong, a senior lecturer in finance at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, had a lower but equally massive estimation of $558 million.

Zhong has told the media that a Taylor Swift tour could have generated more than $70 million for New Zealand’s economy.

The Eras Tour was a major political event that inspired a new word: Swiftonomics. 

Swiftonomics refers to the economic impact caused by Taylor Swift’s massive popularity and touring. It highlights the significant revenue generated by the creative industries, particularly big-name artists, through concerts and their surrounding activities.

Attending a concert can be very expensive, with tickets, flights, accommodation, a costume, dining, and merchandise just starting the list of costs. 

When then-Finance Minister Grant Robertson expressed his disappointment that Swift had not visited New Zealand, Taylor Swift’s fans—Swifties—briefly hoped that political moves could see the singer tour Aotearoa.

However, despite the potential economic boom, Robertson said he would not spend any public money on campaigning for the tour.  

Auckland’s Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner claimed he could not compete with Australia’s Eras Tour campaign funding. 

It must be noted that Eden Park had only one concert slot left in 2024 and a noise curfew of 10:30pm without requiring a new resource consent anyway.

Concerns around New Zealand’s capacity to host internationally touring artists continue to grow, leading to further discourse around whether our nation is keeping up economically and culturally on a global scale. 

Lessons from Taylor Swift’s Economic Impact

Lessons from Taylor Swift's Economic Impact

When an artist of Taylor Swift’s calibre performs somewhere, there is a significant economic impact on the city or country hosting the event. 

This includes direct revenues from the event itself (ticket sales, merchandise) and substantial indirect benefits (hospitality, tourism, transportation, and local businesses). 

The absence of such an event highlights the lost economic opportunities and underscores the role of major artists in energising local economies.

The economic ripple effects generated by artists like Taylor Swift demonstrate the creative economy’s potential to contribute to growth and resilience in broader economic contexts.

The coronavirus pandemic strained the entertainment industry, and perhaps the Eras Tour capitalised on this, inspiring fans itching for live music to attend the tour. 

But creative industries are resurging post-pandemic, and the likes of Swiftonomics prove that entertainment will forever be a major player economically. This prompts a reassessment of how we value and support these sectors.

The decision not to visit specific markets reflects the complexities of supply and demand, logistical feasibility, and economic viability.

Taylor Swift’s absence from New Zealand signals the need for investment in local infrastructure and services to attract and host large-scale events. 

This includes venues, transportation, and other critical services necessary to support both the performers and the audience.

The decision can spark discussion about how artists are treated and valued economically, as well as their rights, creative freedom, and the challenges they face in the industry. 

It highlights the need for fair treatment and adequate compensation for artists at all levels.

Another pandemic consequence, with the absence of live performances, is a shift towards digital engagement. 

This demonstrates the importance of digital platforms for artists to connect with their audience. Think artist-fan interactions and the potential of digital media to bridge geographical gaps.

The global tours of artists like Taylor Swift are more than just economic transactions; they are also cultural exchanges. 

When such events are missing, it highlights the importance of cultural diplomacy and the role of artists in fostering global connections and mutual understanding.

Of course, there are pros and cons, though. Economists and policymakers are increasingly attentive to the environmental impact of large tours. 

Artists’ decisions to limit their tour locations can also reflect an emerging awareness of the carbon footprint associated with such events and a shift towards more sustainable practices within the industry.

Swiftonomics suggests that New Zealand’s future might be brighter if it focuses on especially significant players in the creative sector, improves infrastructure, and embraces digital tools for artists and audiences.