If, like me, you’re a hardcore Swiftie, then the past week will have been one of the most stressful weeks to experience as we all scrambled to get presale tickets. And even if you’re not a Swiftie (unless you’ve been hiding under a rock), you surely would’ve heard of the behemoth that is Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour – her latest stadium tour that is predicted to be the highest-grossing of all time from any artist ever with an estimated $1 billion in sales.
The chaos of ticket sales in the US and globally has dominated headlines over the past several months – even triggering a US Senate hearing on the ticketing industry after US fans literally broke Ticketmaster last November. But how did we even get here? Why has demand been so incredible? What has driven this fanatic frenzy? Time to dive in…
Having generated new legions of fans in recent years (she’s released 4 new albums and 3 re-recorded albums since 2019), Swift has one of the most loyal and large fanbases in modern history. She’s the most streamed female artist on Spotify for a reason but even she couldn’t have foreseen the mania that has swept up longtime Swifties and casual fans alike and it all comes down to a perfect cocktail – FOMO meets TikTok.
Sure FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out for the uninitiated) is nothing new to music lovers desperate to see their favourite artists in concert, but the pervasiveness of social media video content in this day and age has elevated it to another level altogether.
From the very first show of the tour, the floodgates opened for her fans with videos widespread across their TikTok feeds of the incredible production Swift has put together (there are 16 outfit changes and pyrotechnics galore in the three-hour-plus marathon). No longer were we just seeing the bog-standard press kit of professional images across news sites – TikTok offered a first-person deep dive into the experience that made you feel like you were right there screaming out the lyrics.
As the tour steadily built up its nights, the content snowballed beyond Swifties and onto wider audiences, hooking into casual fans and music lovers alike and capitalising on TikTok’s algorithm so that users couldn’t escape from seeing one video or a dozen on their daily scroll – #taylorswifterastour has now had over 2 billion views on the platform alone.
From close-ups of Swift pouring her emotion into her performances, to views from nosebleed seats of the sold-out stadium crowd singing along perfectly in harmony – we’ve never been able to see and experience the atmosphere of a concert quite like this before and neither has it generated such an intense feeling of FOMO. Swifties are desperate to nab tickets and even casual fans want a piece of the action and to say they were there for this record-breaking tour.
This has become such a ‘moment’ that videos of fans’ Eras Tour outfits are also trending as they go all out to pay tribute to Swift’s styles from her various eras, sweeping in the fashion lovers and style influencers too (#taylorswifterastouroutfits has over 77 million views on TikTok).
Then there are other viral moments from the tour making the rounds – celebrity spotting in the VIP section has provided a fun pastime with the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lawrence all spotted singing along to Swift’s hits and getting their own fans intrigued by the fanfare surrounding the tour. Even more wildly, fans unlucky to get tickets have been coming out in their thousands to surround the stadiums on the tour nights and sing along from a distance – in car parks and side streets, on bridges and from rooftops.
This heady combination of loyal fans and the trend-ability of content on TikTok has whipped up such a frenzy that has been unparalleled, generating next-level FOMO amongst generations who want to be able to claim that they were there. As the tour makes its way to the UK and Ireland next summer and as she continues breaking Spotify records, who knows what the level of mania will be like then.