‘I’ve spent up to £8,000 on tickets’: how much it costs to be a Taylor Swift fan

High maintenance: Taylor Swift fandom is expensive business
High maintenance: Taylor Swift fandom is expensive business
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“If I was out flashing my dollars, I’d be a b____ not a baller,” sings Taylor Swift on The Man, a track taken from her 2019 album Lover that asks if she would face lesser scrutiny (for her famous boyfriends, private jets or glamorous lifestyle) if she were male.

The world’s first billionaire pop star to make her fortune entirely through music, Swift’s riches are more in the public consciousness than ever before: the Eras tour, set to finally reach Europe in May, is the first concert to surpass $1 billion dollars in profit, while her decision to rerecord her early albums, to avoid paying royalties to arch-nemesis (and former manager) Scooter Braun, saw unprecedented sales on both streaming and vinyl.

But there’s another secret to her massive bank balance. Swift has maximised on pop stars’ obsession with releasing multiple versions of the same album – Olivia Rodrigo and Lana Del Rey are fellow enthusiasts – luring in loyal fans with promises of bonus songs and special artwork, resulting in more sales, a higher chart position and, yes, even more cash.

Fellow pop star Billie Eilish earned the ire of Swifties everywhere recently when she dared to suggest the practice was damaging the environment, telling Billboard: “It’s irritating to me that we’re still at a point where you care that much about your numbers and you care that much about making money – and it’s all your favourite artists doing that s–t”.

Dedicated Swifties can buy four different vinyls to access all of the bonus tracks on The Tortured Poets Department
Dedicated Swifties can buy four different vinyls to access all of the bonus tracks on The Tortured Poets Department

If you’re still interested in buying the new album The Tortured Poets Department on CD, vinyl or cassette, follow along. For £13.99 (each) you can buy four different versions of the CD, or drop £33.99 on each vinyl or £16.99 on the cassettes – each complete with a differing bonus track (The Albatross, The Black Dog, The Bolter and The Manuscript). These songs are streaming as part of the “surprise” TTPD Anthology album released shortly after the original. But only fans who spend big – the full four-vinyl collection will set you back £135.96 – will get the full physical media Swiftian-experience.

The 34-year-old’s ultra-loyal “Swifties” don’t all adore her business model, with some criticising how expensive it can be to participate in the fandom. Seventeen-year-old Mollie, from Newcastle, thinks Swift’s decision to release multiple versions of her albums makes previous purchases seem outdated – and rewards wealthier fans.

“For Christmas, my parents bought me 1989 (Taylor’s Version) on orange vinyl. I was really excited at first, but then I saw my friends had got the blue [vinyl] version and I couldn’t help but be disappointed, because blue is the colour that matches 1989’s album theme,” says Mollie. “Then I ended up feeling really guilty, because my parents had spent their money on a present for me and I wasn’t happy with it.”

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram push young fans to share their purchases, their algorithms promoting accounts that create more content. And to do this equals spending more money: Mollie says that this can leave her “feeling shut out, because you see all these rich American girls whose parents can afford to pay thousands for VIP or floor tickets on social media and you’re like: ‘I can’t afford that.’

“I spent £120 on my Eras ticket [for Anfield, in Liverpool] from my savings from my part-time job at a coffee shop; it does annoy me that some girls there will just be given their tickets, but look like they’re more loyal as fans because they have fancier dresses or better seats”.

Twenty-one year old student Harriet, who lives in Leeds, tells me that she only managed to afford expensive standing tickets for the Eras tour in London [at a cost of around £170] after working full-time as a nanny last summer. Having already preordered two copies of TTPD – on vinyl and CD – she estimates she’ll have spent more than £800 on Swift by the end of 2024, including transport, a hotel near Wembley Stadium, and a new outfit.

I know as well as anyone how much it can cost to be a Swiftie. I’ve spent the past few months explaining to my boyfriend how it’s perfectly reasonable to be shelling out more than £1,500 to attend the Eras tour – a cost that includes tickets to dates in Stockholm, Sweden and at London’s Wembley Stadium, as well as flights, accommodation and, most importantly, themed outfits. That’s not even counting the hundreds of pounds I’ll inevitably drop on merchandise – I have my eye on a grey sweatshirt emblazoned with Swift’s face, a veritable bargain at £60 – or public transport, food... and cocktails.

Hope, 27, from north London, has spent 'thousands' on being a Swiftie across the years
Hope, 27, from north London, has spent 'thousands' on being a Swiftie across the years

If I factor in my summer holiday to the US Deep South, which includes a tour of venues frequented by Swift in her early years, such as Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, we’re looking at a total sum of £4,000 spent on being a Swiftie in 2024. Gulp. Let’s politely ignore the thousands I (and my poor mother) have also paid out over a decade of following Swift’s career, from tickets to her BST Hyde Park gig in 2015, Reputation and Speak Now tours, to vinyl, t-shirts and posters.

Fans without sufficient disposable income can even resort to taking out huge credit card-limits to fund their devotion. Aspen, 26, a Social Media Marketing Manager from Denver, Colorado, shares regular TikTok videos joking about buying concert tickets on credit. When she was at university, she tells me, she paid £200 for the Reputation tour on her credit card “despite juggling multiple jobs to support myself”.

Emily, 22, has set £800 aside for flights, accommodation, tickets and outfits this summer
Emily, 22, has set £800 aside for flights, accommodation, tickets and outfits this summer

This time around, for the Eras tour, she decided to attend a mammoth five shows at a cost of £1600 (excluding airfare or accommodation), for which she “meticulously researched credit cards and found one offering a 15-month interest-free spending period”.

Despite it taking the full 15 months to pay off her balance, Aspen is adamant it was worth it: “When it comes to something as meaningful to me as Taylor Swift, I’m willing to budget and spend without hesitation. You can work and work and work but you have to have fun and treat yourself, so this experience was a worthwhile investment in my happiness”.

Turning Swift’s shows into holidays is a popular way for fans to justify the cost. Twenty two-year-old Emily says she’s set “around £800 aside for flights, accommodation, tickets and outfits” to travel to shows in Stockholm and London this summer from her home in Stockport, which will, in turn, act as her main holidays for this year. Meanwhile long-term fan Hope, 27, from North London, has long rolled Swift’s tours into holidays across the UK and US.

She’s seen Swift live 11 times since 2011, and will attend four Eras shows (three in the UK, and one in New Jersey in 2023). It’s an expensive passion that she estimates has cost her “firmly in the thousands” over the years – having spent money on “merch, travel, silly things like fairy lights and poster boards, matching red scrunchies and glitter” – but an experience that brings “sheer nostalgia and joy”.

Toronto-based writer Kelsey, 31, has spent up to £8,000 on Swift tickets
Toronto-based writer Kelsey, 31, has spent up to £8,000 on Swift tickets

Toronto-based writer Kelsey, 31, took her dedication one step further during Swift’s Fearless tour (2008-10) by missing an exam so she could attend a show. Her financial investment in Swift has also been huge, she acknowledges, saying: “I’ve been to every tour she’s ever done since 2009, so this amount is likely around $8-10k [£6-8,000]. This would include tickets to six tours – some with multiple shows – merch, vinyl and beyond”.

The overriding opinion among Swifties is that being able to share in the joy of her music is worth every penny: an opportunity to spend valuable time with friends, to sing and dance among thousands of like-minded women. As Aspen puts it, “money can be earned back, but the Eras tour isn’t forever”.

The Tortured Poets Department

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