$5,000 Bruce Springsteen tickets, Taylor Swift’s $200 vinyl watch, and Bey’s $39.99 mystery box
I’ve already bought three vinyl records for an album I haven’t heard a single note of.
Preordering music isn’t uncommon—especially from a popular artist like Taylor Swift, who typically puts together album rollouts months into the year to drum up interest and presales for her upcoming records. (Her surprise 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore are exceptions.)
But three types of vinyl are a bit much, even for a longtime fan like me. At $35 a pop (plus shipping, since they were released at various times and bought from different stores), I spent almost $100 for the same 13-track record. The only distinction between the three is the color of the vinyl.
But three pales in comparison to fanciers purchasing 22 copies of the same upcoming record. At least I have a record player so I can honestly listen to music.
I could be on the hook for a lot more: As of this writing, Swift’s merch website is stocked with five vinyl variants of Swift’s forthcoming Midnights album (four of which form a clock when placed in a square; but the clock mechanics are $49 extra), four T-shirts, four sweaters costing between $65 to $75, deluxe CDs, a $35 bejeweled bracelet, a $75 duffel bag, and a “moonstone blue edition” cassette, among other products.
It’s easy to drop a lot of money on avid fan merchandise—and that doesn’t even include the cost of concert tickets, as (fingers crossed!) Swift should officially declare a world tour soon.
No one is forcing devoted fans to buy T-shirts or tickets or vinyl documents. Still,Taylor Swifty Anna, 29, who asked not to be recognized by her real name because Swift’s fan base can be toxic online, says she feels pressured to buy more and more stuff every time something new comes out. It is offered as a restricted edition.
But Taylor Swift discovered over the years that a major artist’s trade is rarely limited. That knowledge helped her set boundaries for what she would buy.
“No one needs this $200-plus watch,” Taylor Swift said. “Just because you don’t have the special edition vinyl doesn’t make you any less of a fan.”
Why does it cost so much to be a super fan?
In Swift’s and other artists’ defense, it’s hard to make a living as a musician in 2022.
Touring has become an increasingly important part of musicians’ income as streaming has cut into their profits from actual music sales.
That’s caused ticket prices to skyrocket in recent years, especially for popular artists like Swift, Bad Bunny, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, BTS, and Harry Styles, TicketIQ founder Jesse Lawrence said. , and FanIQ, a platform that helps sports teams sell tickets straight to consumers.
According to Pollstar, the average ticket for a North American tour has risen about $20 over the past 10 years, which Lawrence said doesn’t tell the full story of how many various live events there are. For big artists, prices have risen dramatically. And it’s not just Gen Z and millennials breaking the bank to see their famous musicians.
Business sales depend on the relationship between the artist and the fans
So it costs more to go to many events. And then there are all the add-ons.
There is no industry-wide data on business sales, but enterprise insiders say it has been a savior for many artists, predominantly indie artists, during the lockdown phase of the pandemic.
It’s not exclusive to musicians: fans are selling for their favored comedians, TV and movies, sports teams, and podcasts.
While an artist of Swift’s caliber doesn’t rely on selling sweatshirts and T-shirts to support herself, vinyl variants and deluxe CDs help her generate more album sales, catapulting her to the top of the charts.