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Can superstars still bank on fans splurging for concerts like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé did last year?

John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Taylor Swift and Beyoncé raked in some serious concert money in 2023. This year, Swift is continuing her legacy tour and other pop stars such as Olivia Rodrigo and Bad Bunny are taking the stage as Americans are expected to continue spending on live music — though at a slower pace than they did last year.

Americans splurged on concerts in 2023, selling out major stadiums and driving up hotel revenues. It was remarkable, given that inflation was elevated and interest rates were at their highest in two decades.

Despite evidence of a slight slowdown this year, (ticket sales for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival were slower, joining other festivals seeing a similar slowdown in sales, according to Billboard,) there likely won’t be a sharp pullback anytime soon.

The broader US economy is estimated to remain solid throughout 2024, with Federal Reserve officials expecting it to continue expanding and for unemployment to remain low (but edge higher), according to their latest economic projections.

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That means fans will have the disposable income needed to snag concert tickets as employers keep pumping out jobs and workers continue to command decent wage growth, according to economists.

There has also been a long-term trend of people focusing their spending more on experiences, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic kept fans stuck at home for more than a year. Demand for concerts remains robust and experts say that musicians are capitalizing on that.

“With the job market and economy holding strong, consumers could continue spending on these tours – and there’s certainly still demand,” Liz Anderson, a content strategist at jobs site Appcast, said in a statement to CNN. “And today’s biggest artists are successful businesspeople backed by huge teams of advisors. They aren’t stupid – they’re looking at the numbers and know when to capitalize on high demand.”

Don’t fans need to recover financially first?

Tickets to see Taylor Swift and Beyoncé last year weren’t cheap. That means many fans likely broke the bank in 2023 to see either (or both) of those two artists — in addition to other touring acts last year such as Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay.

It stands to reason that those folks probably need to sit on the sidelines and save up some money or pay off their cards first before attending another pricey concert. Not to mention that inflation has continued to take a bite out of people’s budget these past few years.

Beyoncé released “Cowboy Carter” on March 29, her eighth studio album featuring 27 tracks rooted in country music. Unsurprisingly, the album’s songs have already seen massive success, breaking streaming records and ranking highly on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The pop icon hasn’t announced a tour to promote the album, but some fans have already begun to speculate on X, joking that she really ought to wait until next year. According to a Fed survey, consumers have indeed become more price sensitive in recent months.

Swift released her eleventh studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” Friday, and it soared past Beyoncé’s streaming record in just a few hours, becoming Spotify’s most streamed album in a single day of 2024. Swift’s latest set of music was released a “double album,” consisting of 15 extra tracks.

But the economy is still humming along and those fans who might not have had enough dough last year to attend one of Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour show, might be able to afford tickets to see their favorite superstar live now.

Consumer spending is powered by the job market, and US consumers won’t stop spending on concerts, unless they absolutely have to because they got laid off or employers are slamming the brakes on hiring, economists say. Neither has happened yet and there is no recession in sight.

Experiential consumer spending

The United States is one the wealthiest countries in the world, as measured by gross domestic product per capita, according to the latest projections from the International Monetary Fund. It’s a trend that’s been decades in the making, improving the country’s standards of living, which is a key reason for why Americans have enough income to spend on experiences in the first place.

“If you look at the last 60 years, that growth in wealth is really what has contributed to the middle class getting to a point where there’s a lot more disposable income used for experiences,” said Pawan Joshi, senior vice president of products and strategy at business software company E2open.

“We’re going to be growing at a more modest rate, but I would say the resiliency and desire to continue to do what we do is going to always push us to attend these events and create more ways to entertain ourselves,” he added.

Shutdowns during the pandemic and Americans who might have given up on saving for a costly down payment to buy a home, amid a persistently unaffordable housing market, could also be contributing to experiential consumer spending gaining steam.

“The pandemic did result in a permanent shift in preferences, particularly for younger generations. People used to create a bucket list of what they’d want to handle during retirement, but now they’re saying ‘why wait until retirement?’” Jeanelle Johnson, partner and co-leader of the travel, transportation and hospitality sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers, previously told CNN.

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