After a 5-year break from touring, Taylor Swift is back to grabbing headlines and making history.
Not only has the 33-year-old Nashville songwriter been able to repeatedly crash TicketMaster due to the unbelievable ticket frenzy, but she also recently broke the world’s record in top-chart albums by a single artist.
While Taylor’s professional accomplishments are undoubtedly impressive, her impact extends beyond her career. She quickly became trending news in other aspects of her life. The latest scoop sees her giving over $55 million worth of bonuses to the Eras Tour staff. Taylor gave these incredibly generous, even life-changing, tips to the tour’s front liners, such as dancers, riggers, sound engineers, and truck drivers.
Initially set to wrap up in August 2023, the ever-expanding Eras Tour has now added 15 new dates to its North American leg. Then it will travel across the seas all the way to the Asia-Pacific and Europe through 2024.
There’s no denying that the majority of Taylor Swift’s sold-out shows are due to her talent and charisma. The Eras Tour craze is also very much a product of a clever marketing operation.
Could the lavish bonuses also be part of this sophisticated strategy? Let’s find out.
The Eras Tour Could Be the Biggest Tour in History
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is a 3-hour and 44-song showcase of the artist’s work throughout different stages of her professional life.
The massive production sees each studio album presented as a different epoch with an individual choice of scenography, costumes, and overall vibes. Each set is meant to portray the transformations undergone by the artist throughout her career.
As both young and seasoned Taylor fans push for more dates to be added to the already extended list of tour dates. They are also racing to secure the quite pricey tickets for Taylor’s shows. The Eras Tour is showing the potential to become the first-ever billion-dollar music tour in the history of entertainment.
This should come as no surprise, given how, with her net worth of $740 million, Taylor Swift is already one of the world’s highest-paid entertainers, along with iconic artists like Genesis, Rolling Stones, and Sting.
Taylor Swift already counts over 269 million followers on Instagram, and the magnitude of her musical success has begun to shape a subculture among her fans.
Taylor’s more dedicated fans call themselves Swifties and like to wear Taylor-Swift-related items like friendship bracelets. These bracelets are usually adorned with quotes from the songwriter’s lyrics to show their devotion.
The group, largely composed of 18- to 24-year-old Gen Z-ers, has gone as far as prompting sociolinguistic studies. The studies show the unique ways it helps young folks connect and create bonds through their shared love for this talented singer.
Swifties not only see themselves reflected in Taylor’s songs but also find her down-to-earth personality relatable and her generosity admirable.
Is the Bonus Gifting the Result of Her Generosity or a Bigger Marketing Strategy?
Even long before Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the artist was well-known for her philanthropy. A quick Google search will show a long paper trail of selfless acts.
This year (2023), she donated a big sum of money to Feeding Tampa Bay’s mission to end hunger before 2025. The organization has expressed its gratitude for Taylor’s generosity in an Instagram post, saying, “Thank you @taylorswift for being a HERO and supporting Feeding Tampa Bay’s mission to end hunger by 2025! Your generosity will place over 125,000 meals on tables!”
She also selflessly donated $50,000 to a GoFundMe campaign for a mother of 5 who lost her husband to COVID-19. While also giving $13,000 to another GoFundMe campaign for a single mother from Nashville. She expressed her empathy for the woman’s situation in a heartfelt comment.
Given how much of Swift’s public persona is rooted in big gestures, it is understandable to wonder whether the Eras Tour bonuses are part of a bigger PR stunt.
After all, giving out millions of dollars worth of bonuses to tour staffers was bound to make the news. Which in turn, creates even more buzz around the massive musical event. Random acts of kindness often make people more likable and, by extension, can help to advance that person’s career.
With that said, this may be a case of the reciprocity principle at play.
According to this basic law of social psychology, first theorized by American psychologist Robert Cialdini, in most social situations, people tend to pay back what they received from others.
For this reason, the modern marketing mantra “give before you get” has consistently shown positive results to the point of becoming an industry gold standard.
We could speculate that seeing Taylor Swift’s philanthropy at play, her fans might feel the urge to pay back her efforts by supporting her tour and attending her shows, as well as being comforted by the idea that their money is helping good people.
Either Way, Taylor Swift Is Changing People’s Lives
While we cannot know for sure what goes on behind the scenes of one of the biggest marketing campaigns of 2023 (next to the Barbie movie marketing campaign), everything we have gathered so far points to Taylor Swift’s genuine generosity.
Her gigantic Eras Tour bonuses might be doing wonders for branding, but the final result does not change: Taylor Swift is helping people.
According to the CEO of Shomotion, a Colorado-based logistics company hired during the tour, an average bonus for truck drivers averages between $5,000 to $10,000, which goes to show the drivers’ bewildered reaction upon receiving a $100,000 check each from the generous singer.
Even if this turned out to be part of an elaborate marketing ploy, we can’t help but applaud Taylor Swift for positively impacting the lives of those around her.