Sunday, July 21, 2024
From My Front Porch

Are times tough, or are expectations out of control?


Over the course of the past year, Taylor Swift has been performing concerts around the country and around the world. She is a phenomenon, an icon, and an entertainer whose success is truly not comparable to those who came before her. Since her entrance into show business in 2006, she has been nothing short of a musical comet soaring across the heavens with an intensity never previously experienced.

She is the first performer whose wealth comes primarily from music, who can genuinely be classified as a billionaire. She sold over 200 million records by 2019!

This past year Taylor began her “Eras Tour,” and tickets were priced at a ridiculously high amount. But no one ever experienced the sticker shock Swift fans received once her April 19 album was released. Once her new music was introduced, her remaining nine U.S. tour shows had an average, just-to-get-in-the-door price of $2,600 a ticket! No, that is not a misprint; I am not hallucinating: according to Billboard Magazine, it is a fact. This means for two 16-year-olds to go to a concert in New Orleans or Indianapolis, the cost would be over $5,000! What does it say that the shows were sold out?

Here are some numbers that will shock you. According to Billboard, if, instead of going to the concert in New Orleans, a “Swifty” would travel to Paris to see the same show, the base ticket price was 87% less! This literally means two people could buy concert tickets for a Paris show, fly there, stay in a nice hotel, experience Paris and return home, and still be money ahead. Why were tickets cheaper in Europe? There was still a large demand, and the shows sold out, but Europeans would simply not pay like Americans, and the promoters knew that.

I am not going to challenge the affection fans have for Taylor Swift. They adore her, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just two weeks ago someone who I musically admire, George Strait, had the largest ticketed event in the history of North America. Over 110,000 fans attended the show with the host, Texas A&M, setting prices from $59 to $3,000 per ticket. Remember, 110,000 people were at this single show. Clearly, paying huge numbers for a concert ticket is not limited to young teenage girls; it crosses all demographics.

The thought that runs through my mind is: how many people who went to those shows were late making their car payment, ran up the balance on a credit card that was already too big, or failed to meet some other financial obligation because they went to the show? I am afraid to learn the answer.

Personally, I have a hard time trying to imagine spending this kind of money for a couple of hours of entertainment. These are not people saving their lunch money and doing without because they want to go to the concert next weekend. These are people spending three or four months’ worth of groceries to go to a show, maybe even the cost of several months’ worth of house payments! Their priority was not on the amount of the expenditure, but what they wanted to do in the instant. Not only do they want to do whatever they wish, but they also seem to feel like they are entitled to it.

Have I ever spent money foolishly? I guess that would be a matter of opinion and I am sure I have demonstrated poor judgment a time or two. But what happened to meeting obligations first and then spending what is left over on fun and frivolity? I keep hearing people complain about how families are struggling, how inflation is robbing them, and how it is tougher to get by. I think some of that may be true, but at the same time it is a lot tougher when people spend money, they don’t have on things they don’t need at a time when they shouldn’t be spending at all. Life never told you that you were entitled to something just because you desired it. There once was a time when folks knew that and practiced it.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure the folks who go about seeking the instant gratification they cannot afford are any happier than their counterparts — they are just poorer.

Thought for the day: I want my children to acquire all the things I could never afford; then I am going to move in with them!

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out!