Taylor's New Era

Using social listening to celebrate the music retrospective of Taylor Swift's Eras tour

Henry Chapman, Research and Insights Analyst

It's been a long time coming

Taylor Swift just launched the Eras Tour, her first tour in the last five years. This tour has caused ecstasy amongst her entire fanbase. Journalists from The New York Times even called it 2023's version of Beatlemania. Her tour has been so popular because Taylor is incorporating music from her different "eras" (e.g., Fearless, Speak Now, Red, etc.). We'll use Taylor's popularity explosion as an example of how you can use a social listening tool (like Infegy Atlas) to measure her tour performance and quantify just how obsessed American fans are. More critically - we'll show how Taylor’s multiple eras, running the full-gamut of her catalog, broke through the noise and reflect just how successful she was at appealing to a multi-generational listening audience.

Metrics benchmarking tour success

First, let’s put the success of this concert in context of social post volume and sentiment.

Post Volume

Post volume is the natural first stopping point to benchmark how well a tour is breaking through. Detecting how often people talk about a particular music act is an excellent proxy for gauging interest (along with other more obvious factors like ticket sales and music streaming data). Infegy Atlas detected a whopping 89 million posts attributed to the Eras Tour starting in January 2023. This metric supports the argument that the Eras Tour is by far the most successful tour of 2023 and the last five years. For context, Beyonce's 2023 tour, the second most popular tour in 2023, only clocked in at 47 million posts throughout that same time frame.

Taylor Swift post volume chart
Figure 1: Post volume about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.


While a less obvious indicator than post volume, tracking emotional distributions can also be valuable in gauging the tour’s success and popularity. This metric measures posts likely containing positive or negative emotions like Love, Joy, or Sadness. When tracking Taylor's Eras, we found that a massive 17% proportion of posts had Love, with 5.7% containing Joy. We detected almost no presence of more negative emotions like Hate. Interestingly, we saw Sadness spike when Taylor expressed mourning on her tour after a breakup. You could look at this like her fans mourning her relationship loss along with her.

Taylor Swift emotions chart
Figure 2: Emotional document distribution about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Demographics point to Taylor's multi-generational fanbase

Now that we've better understood just how popular Taylor's tour has been, we'll zoom in to look at the audience behind who's posting about the tour. We'll touch briefly on gender and age.

Very constant gender distributions

Taylor Swift appeals to primarily a female audience. Female posters made up around 70% of the conversation, men made up 30%, and non-binary people made up the remaining share of the conversation. These distributions were incredibly constant throughout our search window starting in January. Women peaked at just 72% and bottomed out at 66%. That's a consistent window that suggests just how powerful Taylor Swift is as an idea for her female fans.

Taylor Swift fan gender distribution chart
Figure 3: Gender universe distribution about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Age demographics show multi-generational fans

As mentioned above, our findings on gender weren't shocking. However, things got much more enjoyable when it came to age distribution. Infegy Atlas can detect ages based on post content (e.g., someone receiving "Happy Birthday" wishes). We found that 69% of posts came from people aged 13 through 34. 25-34-year-olds held the most significant category with 32% of posts.

This finding is particularly significant, noting the tour's focus on Taylor's multiple eras of music. Taylor started getting popular around 2008, or 15 years ago. That would put 34-year-olds at around 14 in 2008 - at the beginning of their musical awakening. In short, this histogram proves how successful Taylor's multi-generational appeal is - and how well her tour broke through across different generations who had been exposed to her music.

Taylor Swift fan age distribution chart
Figure 4: Age universe distribution about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Narratives reveals multi-generational appeal

Now that we've gone deeper into the demographics and gotten some multi-generational clues, we'll take a closer look at the content itself. We'll use Narratives, Infegy's document clustering and visualization engine. Narratives can compare topics across millions of documents to draw connections.

When looking at Taylor Swift's Narrative clusters over the last year, we've detected a few groups that pertain to experiences on her tour (clusters 1 and 2). More interestingly, we also see a wide distribution of her music within those clusters. We found a significant cluster (cluster #3) about surprise concert songs from Fearless, her 2008 album. Taylor has made it a hallmark at her live shows to surprise fans with her back catalog. Finally, we also found a large cluster dedicated to 2010's Speak Now. She surprised fans with re-releases at her Kansas City show, which some Infegy employees were lucky to attend.

Taylor Swift Narratives cluster
Figure 5: Narrative clusters distribution about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Hashtags allude to past Swift albums

We turned to a hashtag analysis to get a more discrete picture of Taylor's past music surging. These don't show the context like Narratives but give a more precise picture of what concertgoers are mentioning. They also have more specificity than a general topic analysis.

We found the hashtag word cloud was full of Taylor's past content. Hashtags like #lover, #speaknow, #midnights, #reputation, and #fokelore all provide small windows into the different Eras of Taylor's music. This word cloud helps explain just how Taylor retains such support across wildly different ages.

Taylor Swift hashtag topic cloud
Figure 6: Hashtag topic cloud about Taylor Swift (January 1 through August 6, 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Takeaways for brand strategists

Taylor Swift's Eras Tour of 2023 has proven to be a remarkable musical retrospective. The tour's resounding success, marked by a staggering 89 million posts attributed to it, solidifies its position as the most triumphant tour of the year. Infegy Atlas detected Taylor's music caused deep emotional resonance in her fans and showed a more diverse fan demographic set than one would first imagine. In the realm of music and audience engagement, Taylor Swift's Eras Tour serves as a compelling case study, showcasing the ability of social listening to decipher and quantify the depth of fan enthusiasm across generations and music catalogs alike.

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