When mega star Taylor Swift comes to town, the impact to the local economy has been likened to hosting the Super Bowl. Experts call it the “TSwift Lift” and even the austere Federal Reserve reserved a place in its research for documenting the commercial effect of her concerts.
Her Eras tour is expected to be the first to breach the threshold of $1 billion in ticket sales and could end up generating nearly $5 billion in overall spending as fans splurge over $1,300 each just to experience her live.
Who then could be better placed to help Elon Musk win back former Twitter advertisers he lost after acquiring the site’s parent company nearly a year ago for $44 billion?
In a reply to Swift posting about new tracks for her 1989 album re-recording to her 94 million followers on X, owner Elon Musk on Wednesday sought to enlist her help in driving traffic to his financially troubled platform.
“I recommend posting some music or concert videos directly on the X platform,” recommended Musk, who recently celebrated the exclusive debut of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s new show on the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The tycoon’s occasional flirt with conspiracy theories and his advocacy for causes popular with the alt-right, most recently uncontrolled immigration, as well as his run-ins with the Anti-Defamation League have cost him a 60% drop in U.S. advertisers.
As a result, the X platform fell short of hitting his target to reach cashflow break-even in the second quarter. That means the company continues to burn through its cash reserves even after 80% of its workforce were let go.
He also managed to scare some users with his announcement this week he plans to roll out a new monthly fee that could generate fresh revenue while bringing him one step closer to his dream of making X a western clone of Tencent’s dominant Chinese app WeChat.
a hint of what’s to come. who’s in? https://t.co/TYEevYJlfL pic.twitter.com/G0DTLeHQic
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) September 20, 2023
Musk justified the plan by arguing users should pay to help him combat bot farms, which can dissuade advertisers unwilling to pay for reaching accounts that have no consumer behind them.
Bluesky, a new rival backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, saw a record number of users join his platform following the news.
Musk has since partially walked back his remarks, implying he only intended to add a new tier below his $8 dollar a month premium subscription. He provided no explanation yet however as to the benefits a user would get in exchange for paying “a few dollars” a month.
The talk around new fees comes a CEO Linda Yaccarino gave a first glimpse on Wednesday of what Musk’s “everything app” might offer.
No Swift response
Swift meanwhile didn’t respond to Musk’s request. Given the music sensation demonstrably creates wealth wherever she goes, however, it is likely Musk’s financially ailing platform needs her more than she needs it. (Though the tycoon claimed this week he has more monthly users than ever with 550 million on X, more than twice Twitter’s last reported figure as a publicly listed company.)
Moreover the centibillionaire’s well-publicized bromance with Kanye West—who is famously not in Swift’s good graces—may make it a tall order for the artist anyway.