We Should Know Better

I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age it seems I am not qualified to enter into that conversation and even if I was, I would not be entitled to an opinion. In any case it is not the talent that has me scratching my head, it is the fan frenzy.

Even Politicos

What are prime ministers Justin Trudeau (Canada) and Anthony Albanese (Australia) doing lobbying for more Swift concerts? The Daily Mail “Albanese” headline uses the right word to describe this – cringeworthy. Don’t these guys have better things to do than lobby for the Swifties? But I guess every vote counts.

Mega Star, No Doubt

There is no denying that Swift is a mega-star. Consider the ERAS tour currently underway. By the time it ends in 2024, she will have performed 104 times. According to concert data tracker Pollstar, the tour will have grossed over US$1.4 billion. Some other eye-watering stats as at June 23, 2023:

  • There had been twenty-two shows
  • Average number of tickets sold per show – 53,923
  • Total ticket sales – 1,186,314
  • Average ticket price – US$253.56
  • Gross per show – US$13.6 million
  • Tour extended to 104 performances – expected tour gross: US$1.41 billion

And Toronto

Swifties!

Canada will have to wait until November 2024 when Taylor brings her tour to Toronto. She will perform six times between the fourteenth and the twenty-third. Some statistics:

  • 30 million people signed up to buy
  • one of 300,000 tickets for a
  • three hour concert
  • and despite face value prices of $150 to $300 most concert goers will pay
  • $2,500 to $6,000 per ticket

Many of the concert goers will travel to Toronto and pay inflated prices for hotel rooms because of the influx of fans. So let’s say two tickets at $3,000 each with airfare, hotel, and food – $8,000 / $10,000 for three hours of rapture! Others, it seems will make their way to Toronto spending thousands just to swoon in the adjacent parking lots or in Maple Leaf Square.

Why Am I Writing About This?

I really don’t know. I shouldn’t care. But the pervasive sense of entitlement offends me. I struggle with athlete’s salaries. Over US$13.0 million for a scowling, gloomy hockey player who has won nothing and disappears in the playoffs? Compare that to US$13.0 million gross for a show that most real fans cannot afford and even that seems more reasonable.

And what about the fans, the enablers? They are happy to shell out $4,000 to $5,000 for the Swift experience but moan about inflation, the cost of housing, and rising food costs. Download, buy the vinyl, have Swift parties, get the merch, be a fan but make rational spending decisions.

.……..It’s astounding how little our stale economic-policy debate (top-down versus bottom-up, high-tax versus low-tax) has changed over the past few decades. And how little it matters.

In reality, politicians have had even less control over this inflation cycle than most: prices are coming down as the shock of the war in Ukraine, subsides, and the pandemic disappears further from view. But it’s not yet where we would like it to be: US consumer prices rose 3.2 per cent year-on-year in July, lower than analysts had expected but nevertheless up slightly again from June. Inflation over the past few years has been a huge problem and not only in the US. It’s less a story of government policy than it is about central banks, interest rates, foreign wars and consumer habits. 

Of course, this reality has never stopped politicians from taking credit when times are good or getting punished by voters when times are bad. But, really, we should know better. 

Christopher Cermak, The Monocle Minute, Monday, August 23,2021

We Should Know Better

So what is the link to the above excerpt from The Monocle Minute! Consumer habits! Ridiculously priced entertainment choices are just the tip of the iceberg!

  • Eating and ordering out
  • Constant wardrobe churn
  • $5+ coffees and bubble teas!
  • Continuous home renovations and furniture turnover! and how many square feet do two people really need to live? A family of four?
  • Cell phones and tablets that have to be constantly updated at over $1,000 a pop
  • Drive and park for $30 plus-a-day when public transit is quicker at $6 a day

I have lived through inflationary periods before. They all felt different than this time around. Consumers reacted. Pervasive conspicuous consumption slowed to a virtual standstill. Airports emptied – well, if you travelled this summer …. airports are mad-houses. I know that I am over-simplifying! I know there is some genuine inflation-induced hardship but not enough to stop the ongoing consumer tsunami fuelled by a sense of entitlement. We should know better.

We should know better!

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We Should Know Better

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I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]

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