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Gen Z has affectionately dubbed the queens of pop, who have both been on tour around the country, as such thanks to their fierce impact on pop culture; but if you ask us, these two are CEOs in their own right on account of their revenue-driving prowess.
Swift’s U.S. Eras Tour, which ran from March to October, generated $5 billion in consumer spending, according to online research group QuestionPro. Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour, which kicked off abroad in May and concluded in the U.S. in October, made $4.5 billion for the U.S. economy, as much as the 2008 Olympics generated for Beijing, according to The New York Times.
Together, the pop icons have generated nearly $10 billion for the economy due to the demand for tickets to their shows — and the amount concertgoers spend to look their best to see their favorite artists.
Apart from their massive reach and influence, they have also proven to be strategic and compassionate business leaders. Although Swift and Beyoncé might not be chief executive officers in the traditional sense, they head exceptionally well-run organizations.
Keep scrolling to see why Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are the top CEOs of 2023.
Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for TAS | Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Taylor Swift attend the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” Concert Movie World Premiere at AMC The Grove 14 on October 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
They are stimulating the economy
A good CEO knows how to make money for their company, but a great CEO understands the importance of building a brand that dominates the market — so much so it finds its way into the zeitgeist and inadvertently benefits related industries.
Considering Taylor Swift and Beyoncé have been consistent figures in pop culture for decades, it’s no surprise other businesses have felt the economic impact of their star power. Fans of both artists spend big on more than just concert tickets.
According to QuestionPro, which surveyed 592 Swifties who attended at least one of her shows, Swift’s fans spent about $93 million per show on tickets, merchandise, travel, hotel, food and clothing, with the average individual fan spending $1,300 for the experience.
Each of the 20 cities Swift visited benefited from her economic impact. Cincinnati estimated that it would see $48 million in additional revenue, with concertgoers spending on hotels, restaurants and shops near the venue, according to the Washington Post.
Los Angeles expected an estimated $320 million boost following six shows in the area, while Denver predicted that Swift’s visit to the state would generate $140 million associated with the show. Kansas City estimated her visit to Arrowhead Stadium generated an estimated $48 million.
According to a report by hotel analytics group STR, tour cities generated $208 million in total hotel revenue over three months and 53 concert nights.
Additionally, her star power impacted small businesses, including an Etsy seller who has made $15,000 by selling 1,500 friendship bracelets for Swift’s shows. Local vendors also made out well, with fans requesting Swift-themed treats. Her tour also generated high-wage jobs around the stadiums — some of which led to long-term employment, per the Washington Post.
“If Taylor Swift were an economy, she’d be bigger than 50 countries; if she was a corporation, her net promoter score would make her the fourth-most-admired brand, and her loyalty numbers mimic those of subjects to a royal crown” Dan Fleetwood, president of QuestionPro Research and Insights, said of the survey. “It’s all a testament to her focus on the fan experience.”
As for Beyoncé, her tour took in about $179 million in a single month, according to Billboard.
QuestionPro surveyed 893 members of the “Beyhive” and found that concertgoers spent $1,800 on average, $300 more than Swifties, with nearly all respondents saying it was worth it and they would spend it again.
Etsy sellers also saw a Beyoncé boost after she requested fans wear silver to shows in the final weeks of her tour. The app saw a 25% increase in searches for silver items shortly after Beyoncé’s request, according to The New York Times.
They look out for their employees and others
CEOs know the secret to a strong business is happy employees, and bonuses are an obvious way to keep staff content.
Apart from stimulating local economies on their tours, Swift and Beyoncé spread the wealth among their staff — and beyond.
Swift notably gave each of her truck drivers a $100,000 bonus, adding up to $5 million. In total, she spent $55 million on bonuses for Eras Tour workers, including technicians, dancers and caterers.
Although it hasn’t been reported if Beyoncé gave her staff similar bonuses, she donated $2 million to students and small businesses through her BeyGood charity during her tour, according to TODAY. The BeyGood Foundation hosted luncheons the day before her shows and gave entrepreneurs the chance to win a $100,000 grant. The remainder of the funds went to the Renaissance Scholarship Fund.
They’re making a global impact
Successful CEOs know that for their brand to stand the test of time, it must make an impact internationally.
Luckily for Beyoncé and Swift, their reach goes far beyond the U.S.
Although Swift’s U.S. tour has concluded, she’s expected to drive even more revenue on her international leg beginning in November. She’s expected to perform 146 shows across South America, Asia, Australia and Europe between now and November 2024, according to her website.
Apart from her shows, the Eras Tour film, which was released in theaters in October, generated $95 million to $97 million during its opening weekend, according to AMC Entertainment, the highest-grossing domestic release of a concert film ever.
Internationally, the film is expected to generate an additional estimated $31 million to $33 million across international territories, marking a global total of $126 million to $130 million, according to The New York Times.
As for Beyoncé, her international tour helped boost economies outside of the U.S., including Sweden, where she kicked off her tour in May 2023. Economists told NBC News that the spike in demand and surge in costs for hotels and restaurants during her stop in the country resulted in a lower-than-expected 0.2% decrease in Sweden’s inflation figure in June.
“Perhaps all that isn’t just down to her as there are other events taking place, but when you think about what was the cause, she is the prime suspect,” Michael Grahn, chief economist in Sweden for Denmark’s Danske Bank, told the outlet.
Although Beyoncé’s tour started abroad and concluded with the U.S. leg, fans will get to experience her star power once again at the Renaissance concert film, which hits theaters on December 1. According to Deadline, the film has already generated $6 million to $7 million in ticket pre-sales.
With the billions of dollars both artists have generated in the U.S. and abroad as cultural brands, in addition to their compassion for their staff, they have proven to be celebrities with exceptional operations — or CEOs for short.