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LCN Says

Wrestle with PESTLE: Taylor Swift – The Eras Tour

updated on 05 June 2024

Reading time: 19 (89) minutes

Can we write a PESTLE analysis on (arguably?) the world’s biggest popstar? We’re going to give it a go. Are you ‘…Ready For It?’

Unsure what PESTLE is? Read our first Wrestle With Pestle (WWP) article explaining the technique.  

Case study: The Eras Tour – 'LCN’s Version' of events

She’s a popstar who needs no introduction (but we’re going to give her one anyway). Taylor Swift burst into the spotlight in October 2006 with the release of her self-titled debut album. Since then, her fanbase has grown exponentially. After winning the Horizon Award for best new artist, releasing her second studio album Fearless and headlining her first tour in 2009, it’s safe to say that she very quickly became a household name across the world. Fast forward 15 years, more than two handfuls of Grammys, 40 American Music Awards (plus others) and 11 albums later, including two released during the covid-19 lockdowns, you can quite literally do a degree on the singer/songwriter.

The Eras Tour is Swift’s latest venture and involves a tribute to each of her studio albums. This WWP provides an analysis of the political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental impacts and issues that have arisen as a result of this record-breaking tour.

Welcome to The Eras Tour (LCN’s Version).

[Image credits: Brian Friedman/]

Political – ‘Don’t Blame Me’: Taylor made us crazy

Has an Eras Tour exclusivity deal negotiated by former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong created ‘Bad Blood’ between Singapore and its neighbours? Ahead of the south-east Asia leg of The Eras Tour earlier this year, Lee spoke up about the country’s “arrangement” to have Swift perform all six of the tour dates scheduled for south-east Asia in Singapore. The arrangement was met by backlash and described as “unfriendly” by critics in Thailand and the Philippines who were unhappy that they were missing out on the tourism boom that the tour has brought to each country it’s visited so far.

Filipino lawmaker Joey Salceda said such a deal, which is thought to be worth around £2.3 million per show, “isn’t what good neighbours do” and allegedly called for a protest against the arrangement. In response to the criticism, Lee said that Singapore had used the government’s Tourism Development Fund, which was put in place to rebuild the country’s tourism industry following the devastating impact of the pandemic to provide “certain incentives”, which saw the popstar perform exclusively in Singapore.

He added: “If that’s what’s needed to be done to get an outcome which is mutually beneficial and which, from Singapore’s point of view, serves not just to grow the economy but also to bring in visitors and goodwill from all over the region, I don’t see why not.” Lee hasn’t revealed how much the deal was worth but admits that it “turned out to be a very successful arrangement”, while the country’s culture minister said that the exclusivity deal was “not anywhere as high” as predicted.

Although Lee refuted the claims that the arrangement was “unfriendly”, Salceda said it’s “one example of the evolving nature of trade in services that we need to discuss with our neighbours”. The exclusivity deal came after Swift cancelled her 2014 sold-out concert in Bangkok due to a military coup forcing out the civilian government. With Swift having not returned to Thailand since the incident, politician Pita Limjaroenrat responded to an Eras Tour announcement on X in July 2023 to confirm that “Thailand is back on track to be fully democratic” after the previous cancellation. Limjaroenrat added: “Do come and I’ll be singing Lavender Haze with you.” Despite these calls, it was Singapore that had its ‘Wildest Dreams’ realised.

But Lee and Limjaroenrat weren’t the only leaders to request Swift to perform in their country. Following the estimated $5.7 billion boost to the US economy, the ‘Cruel Summer’ singer was in high demand. Last year, MPs and leaders from Canada, Australia and Chile took to social media to request the popstar make a stop in their countries with the hope of seeing ‘Swiftonomics’ at play. But while MPs from Queensland and Perth begged with Swift to make an appearance in their cities, it was Melbourne and Sydney that saw ‘Sparks Fly’ with the singer performing there earlier this year.

So, while some politicians were successful in their requests to see Swift in their countries or cities, others weren’t so lucky. What could the exclusivity deal agreed by Singapore and Swift do to relations between Singapore and its neighbours and how might it impact the way that future world tours (Swift’s and others), as well as other major events, are handled between politicians vying for attention from organisers and stars?

Economic – ‘Fearless’ spending

Although we saw many politicians claiming to be Swift fans, the main driver for their requests appears to have been the economic impact of The Eras Tour.

Swift’s tour came as a shift in consumer spending saw people increasingly “prioritising services” and experiences more than they had prior and during the pandemic. This isn’t exclusive to Swift, but the powerhouse’s economic influence is far from ‘Invisible’. So, how has her tour impacted the economies of places she’s already visited and what can the places she’s got lined up look forward to?

It’s estimated that Singapore’s six sold-out Eras Tour dates in March 2024 would generate around $260 to $375 million in tourism receipts, according to The Washington Post. The official figures are yet to be announced. Plus, in recent weeks, it’s been forecast that the tour will provide a boost of nearly £1 billion to the UK economy as more than a million fans prepare for the UK leg of the tour, which kicks off in Edinburgh on 7 June. Those attending The Eras Tour in the UK have been predicted to spend on average around £848 on tickets, travel, accommodation, outfits and other expenses – this is more than 12 times the average of a UK night out (£67) and more than double the amount spent attending a UK-based wedding (£398), according to a Barclays report.

Dr Peter Brooks, chief behavioural scientist at Barclays, said: “Whoever came up with the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” clearly wasn’t a Swiftie […]. When it comes to cultural icons like Taylor Swift – like we saw with Elvis and Beatlemania in the 50s and 60s – supporters have such a strong connection to the artist and to the rest of the fandom that the desire to spend becomes even more powerful.” 

Experts have also indicated that the economic benefits of the tour in Europe might even surpass that of the US. Natalia Lechmanova, chief Europe economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, cites Europe’s “strong public transportation networks” as an advantage, predicting “that the impact is likely to be more spread out”. Fans from the US are also flocking across the pond to see Swift perform in Europe with tickets reportedly cheaper and easier to book.

Despite the excitement around the economic boom brought by The Eras Tour, there are concerns that the sudden demand for amenities like hotel rooms, and food and drink, in the lead up to significant events such as this, could fuel inflation fleetingly, according to Fortune. That said, Lechmanova shook off these claims, stating that “when it comes to [the] impact on inflation trends in Europe, that is nothing to really rave about”.

So, who is The Eras Tour really benefitting from an economic standpoint? There have been questions raised about whether these predictions are accurate, with European economist George Moran describing the estimations as “overhyped, especially for economies like the UK”. Moran cites the fact that many Swifties are likely cutting back on spending elsewhere to afford the tickets (and everything else that comes with them). He also explains that £1 billion “is very small in relation to UK GDP”, while other economists consider how much of the tour revenue will go back with the popstar when she says ‘So Long, London’ and returns to the US.

Sociological – ‘Welcome To New York’ (Taylor’s world)

Of all the elements of this PESTLE analysis, identifying a sociological impact of The Eras Tour was probably the most difficult. On reflection, though, Swift’s sociological impact is unmatched, with Swifties the world over heavily influenced by the popstar’s movement, interests and political opinions. So, when she sings “make the friendship bracelets” in ‘You’re On Your Own, Kid’, a track from her Midnights album, you best believe that’s what her fans did and continue to do. 

Researcher Dr Georgia Carroll explains that for sociologists there’s a drive “to understand society and its intersection with culture, identity, social relationships, and power structures, and celebrity fandom is a perfect window into all of those things”. The fandom that Swift has created is a spectacle in and of itself: we’ve witnessed fans unable to secure show tickets sitting outside arenas, and one show in Seattle reportedly generated seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake. However, the dedication directed towards Swift moves beyond just spending money on concerts and merchandise. In the past, we’ve seen Swift advocate on social and political rights, taking to Instagram in 2023 to encourage her fans to register to vote – a move that allegedly saw 35,000 registrations on, the organisation she linked to.

In anticipation of The Eras Tour, academics on opposite sides of the world got to work studying and discussing Swift’s impact. Melbourne’s ‘Swiftposium’, which took place ahead of her Australian leg of the tour earlier this year, saw academics getting together to scrutinise her global impact. The University of Liverpool has taken a similar approach with ‘Tay Day’, a conference organised by the university’s Institute of Popular Music that invites academics from across Europe to “debate and deconstruct” Swift’s career, focusing on her literary significance and feminism. Dr Sam Murray from the Institute acknowledges the singer/songwriter’s cultural impact and explains that they wanted to “create a space to discuss that and get some understanding about the things that connect her fan community”.

The sociological impact of Swift and The Eras Tour is still being looked into, including the influence she’s had on women feeling more at home in male-dominated sports as a result of her relationship with US football star Travis Kelce. She’s also used as a case study in academic research that looks into “fan engagement with commodified celebrity fandom communities”. Plus, the $100,000 cheque that she sent to Michael Scherkenbach, CEO and founder of Shomotion, one of the transportation companies used on The Eras Tour, has been described as “life-changing”. Speaking of the gesture, Scherkenbach said bonuses in this form are normally around $5,000 to $10,000, while highlighting that living “on the road” and away from families is a “gruelling task” for those working for the transportation company. Scherkenbach adds: “Look, fair wage doesn’t put you in a position to buy a home. But this opens up that possibility.”

However, it’s not all positive. Ahead of Swift’s Scotland leg of The Eras Tour, it’s been alleged that homeless and displaced people in Edinburgh were removed from their temporary accommodation to prepare for Swift’s arrival, as well as the summer holidays. Homeless Network Scotland says: “It’s appalling that people already dealing with the agony of homelessness could be forced onto the streets because of a gig, but it is also telling.

“The fact that a single event could have this effect lays bare the reality of the housing emergency in Edinburgh. The city is at bursting point and it’s not even festival season yet.”

But is this more a reflection on Scotland’s housing crisis? The Eras Tour has certainly put Edinburgh’s housing emergency under the spotlight, with many of those reportedly forced out of accommodation sent by taxi to cities like Glasgow. Ben Parker, Scottish Green Party councillor, called the events “scandalous”, adding: “Shamefully, we know that this Taylor Swift concert is not the only time that we see this practice.”

However, Edinburgh City Council has refuted the claims, stating that it was “absolutely not” evicting those in temporary emergency housing in preparation for those coming to stay in the city for the concerts. Councillor Jane Meagher explains that “at times” and, as a “last resort”, tourist accommodation is used to “house homeless households”. Meagher says the council is “aware of the situation” and is “working with the affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodation”.

In light of the council having already declared a housing emergency, there are concerns among housing advocates and other organisations that the city’s annual Fringe Festival in August could see a similar situation. As such, Homeless Network Scotland has urged the Scottish government to “prioritise supporting Edinburgh and Edinburgh must prioritise helping people facing the greatest need”, while also calling for “more investment in social and affordable housing”. Although The Eras Tour is forecast to boost the UK economy, this situation once again begs the question “where’s the money going?” and how could it be used to improve the socioeconomic situation for the homeless people in Scotland – and across the rest of the UK?

Technological – ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’

As well as the tech that’s gone into orchestrating The Eras Tour, including strategic speaker placement to ensure 360-degree sound coverage and the use of LED screens, walls and lasers to immerse fans in the singer’s storytelling, the demand for tickets has resulted in websites crashing and plenty of ticket scams.

In fact, fake Taylor Swift tickets have been predicted to be one of the biggest online scams that consumers could face this year, according to UK Finance. Lloyds Bank warned consumers about the scam possibility after it saw more than 600 of its customers scammed, losing over £1 million. Using its own data, the bank also predicted that there’s been at least 3,000 scam victims across the UK, with social media being the source for the majority of the scams. Fraudsters take advantage of fans eager to secure last-minute tickets by creating fake adverts, posts or listings on social media, offering tickets or access to events that have already sold out.

It feels as though it’s becoming increasingly easy for hackers to use the latest technology to pose as friends or mutual friends on social media, making it difficult to tell these scams apart from the more obvious ones. So, what preventative measures can fans take to ensure the people they’re talking to are legitimate and that the tech they’re using offers some form of protection? Consumer law expert at Which? Lisa Webb recommends that consumers use a credit card or PayPal for any purchases that cost more than £100 due to the protection they offer. Although tempting, Webb urges Swifties to not buy tickets from anyone other than sellers because “your rights can be significantly reduced if something goes wrong”. Matt Hepburn, a spokesperson for TSB fraud, has called for social media platforms to step up “measures to urgently halt the fraud epidemic they currently enable”.

Legal – ‘So what am I defending now?’

When you hear the words ‘Taylor Swift’ and ‘legal’, it wouldn’t be uncommon for your thoughts to jump straight to the issues involving her albums, Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records. And, while we could talk extensively about this case and Swift’s response to it (ie, rerecording each of her albums as ‘Taylor’s Version’ to regain control and ownership of her previous work), there’s so much information out there already on this issue. So, we thought that looking at some more nuanced (and recent) legal implications that have arisen due to The Eras Tour might be more interesting.

For example, a bill called House File 1989 (a nod to Swift’s fifth studio album), and nicknamed the ‘Taylor Swift bill’ was passed in Minnesota in early May. It’s set to take effect from January 2025 and will apply to tickets sold on or after this date. Kelly Moller, chief author of the bill and Minnesota state representative, called for the law after she experienced firsthand the Ticketmaster system crash when trying to buy Swift tickets in 2022.

Under the bill, those selling tickets to people in Minnesota must disclose all fees upfront. The same applies for tickets sold for concerts held in the state. It’ll also ban those reselling tickets from selling more than one copy of a ticket. The bill has been described as “protection” to help prevent consumers purchasing “a fraudulent ticket”, while also preventing resellers from snatching all the tickets up before genuine fans have the opportunity. A Ticketmaster spokesperson backed the law: "We've long advocated for a ban on speculative ticketing, mandating all-in pricing, and enforcing stricter bot laws. This legislation enacts one of the nation's strongest ticketing reform laws."

This isn’t the only legal impact The Eras Tour has had. As Swift’s influence grows as she releases new albums and continues her world tour, Queens University law school in Canada has developed a module called ‘Law (Taylor’s Version)’. Speaking on its decision to introduce the module, the university references the extensive body of contemporary case studies that could be of particular importance and interest to those pursuing business and entertainment law. “The Swift business enterprise is an excellent contemporary case study to explore the significant legal dimensions of copyright, contract, trademarks, defamation, privacy, personality/publicity rights, free expression, and more,” says Dean Colleen M Flood. 

In fact, could Swift’s interactions with student Jack Sweeney become one of the case studies incorporated into the module? Earlier this year, it was reported that her lawyers threatened legal action against the student who runs a social media account that tracks Swift’s private jet. Sweeney uses social media to share the flight paths of helicopters and planes owned by celebrities, billionaires, politicians and other public figures, including Swift, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as the amount of CO2 being produced by the flights. The data he shares is publicly available, but Swift’s lawyers have argued that his actions are harassment. Despite the threat of legal action, Sweeney continues to track Swift’s flights with his lawyer claiming that there’s nothing “unlawful” about what he’s doing.

Environmental – ‘getaway’ jets and ‘burning brighter than the sun’

Although Swift sings about a ‘Getaway Car’, it’s the air travel that comes with a global tour that paints her less than green. And it’s not just the star herself that needs to be transported to these destinations but her crew, equipment and fans too.

When looking at the flights Swift took for The Eras Tour shows between 7 and 26 February 2024, which saw her perform in Tokyo, Melbourne and Australia, the air travel for her alone amounted to 393 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to Carbon Credits. This is nearly 30 times the amount that an average person emits in the US over a year. Plus, this covers just 11 dates of the tour – when you factor in the fact that The Eras Tour started in March 2023 and will be running until December 2024, the travel emissions will no doubt be astronomical.

One recent flight that drew particular attention to the popstar’s emissions was the one she took from Tokyo to Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl, which, according to Carbon Credits, emitted around 40 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. Another one that’s received criticism is the 13-minute flight she reportedly took from St Louis Downtown Airport in Illinois to Spirit of St Louis Airport in Missouri – a distance that would’ve taken 34 minutes by car, emitting much fewer carbon emissions. According to, an average journey in a private jet produces carbon emissions equivalent to driving a petrol car from Paris to Rome 16 times, demonstrating the extreme impact that The Eras Tour and other private jet use is having on the environment.

As celebrities’ private jets are put under the microscope, author of The Intersectional Environmentalist Leah Thomas says: "It's ok to hold celebrities to higher standards, because sustainability is much more accessible to them. Swift could course-correct by blatantly speaking about the climate crisis, promoting sustainable initiatives or donating proceeds of her concerts to environmental organisations."

We’ve seen just how much influence she has over her fans, so something as simple as an Instagram story about sustainable initiatives has the potential to go a long way. It also pays to look towards other artists on world tours – take Coldplay, for example, who are using 100% renewable energy for their Music of the Spheres Tour, as well as planting trees, diverting 66% of all tour waste from landfills and more.

So, looking forward, how will the entertainment industry change to offset carbon emissions generated by world tours? What will the stars of the shows, those with huge influential power over their fans, do to support the activism required to slow down the rate at which the global average temperature increases? And how much of this is in the hands of Swift?

The verdict – ‘this is me trying’ to wrap up

Now mere hours away from the first date of the UK leg of the tour, there will soon be much more to analyse of its impact in each of these areas, particularly from a UK perspective. More broadly though, it’ll be interesting to see whether future tours generate similar tensions between countries that want to host performers and whether the economic boost that The Eras Tour is predicted to generate comes to fruition. It’s also worth thinking about how Swift’s sociological influence could develop and whether there should be concerns about its reach. Meanwhile, could The Eras Tour ticket issues spark further change to how tickets are sold and resold, much like the passing of the law in Minnesota? Plus, how might Sweeney’s persistence in tracking Swift’s private jet play out and will the popstar respond to the criticism surrounding her environmental impact?

While this PESTLE analysis tries to home in on the impact of The Eras Tour itself, we know ‘All Too Well’ that Swift’s influence from a political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental perspective is second to none and will likely continue to be so in years to come as the singer/songwriter announces new tours and continues to release new albums. And for those of us – ‘The Lucky One[s]’ – who secured tickets, LCN hopes you have ‘The Best Day’. 

In answer to our question at the start of this WWP, ‘yes, we can absolutely write a PESTLE analysis on Taylor Swift’ and so could you. 

Olivia Partridge (she/her) is the content manager at LawCareers.Net.