Billboard Boxscore, Chart Beat, Music, music, Renaissance World Tour, Streaming, The Eras Tour, Touring

Beyoncé and Taylor Swift Prove the Power of Touring With Sustained Streaming Boosts

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift and Beyoncé staged the two biggest tours of 2023, with Swift even continuing the Eras Era throughout 2024. But not only did both artists earn record-breaking grosses and affect local economies with their treks, the stage shows also juiced each artist’s recorded music consumption.

Luminate and Billboard partnered to dig deeper into the connection between touring and streaming, capping a colossal year of headline tours. Beyoncé and Swift proved perfect examples of artists’ abilities to capitalize on their concert calendar to not only score a local bump in each city but sustain long-term national interest throughout the duration of their tours and beyond.

Both Beyoncé and Swift saw expected bumps to their consumption totals upon their respective tour kick-offs. When The Eras Tour launched, Swift’s U.S. on-demand audio streaming count increased by 59% in the week ending March 23, according to Luminate. For Beyoncé, the effects were teased out, as the tour’s first leg in Europe allowed domestic streaming to build slowly before her North American arrival. By the end of their U.S. runs, streams were up – from the week before each tour began through the release of each artist’s concert film – by 106% and 34%, respectively.

Initially, these bumps could be explained by the analysis of touring’s local short-term impact on consumption. In each city that Beyoncé and Swift played, market-level streams immediately grew by 89% and 95%, respectively, on average. But as their tours continued, isolated regional bumps compounded on one another, with particular narratives and trends aggregating to a mountain of consumption at the national level.

The mere announcement (Feb. 1, 2023) of Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour – coupled with the 65th Annual Grammy awards, where she did not perform but accepted two record-breaking trophies – spurred three weeks of gains, as the tour’s on-sale kept excitement alive. The beginning of Beyoncé’s domestic dates naturally fueled consumption in dramatic fashion with six consecutive weeks of increases (July 7 – Aug. 17).

Beyoncé, Renaissance Tour

Beyoncé stretched out her summer streaming bump with intention, focusing on individual moments of choreography and arrangements within the setlist. For “Energy,” a deep cut from Renaissance, she made a meal out of the lyric, “Look around, everybody on mute.” She took it literally, pausing the song and freezing alongside her dancers and band, teasing the audience before resuming, “Look around, it’s me and my crew/ Big energy.”

The Mute Challenge soon became an integral part of the show. By the time “Energy” hit its own streaming peak of 1.7 million clicks (week ending Sept. 7), it had nearly tripled its consumption from before the tour.

When Beyoncé performed “My Power,” a non-single from The Lion King: The Gift, she was joined by daughter Blue Ivy Carter on stage. Their much-memed and much-imitated dance routine entered the cannon of iconic Beyoncé choreography, with fans tracking Blue’s progress throughout the tour. The track posted explosive streaming gains over several months, ultimately up 449% by its peak (the week ending Aug. 17) from before the tour’s launch (the week ending May 4).

Spotlights for under-the-radar tracks like “Energy” and “My Power” yielded organic, drawn-out increases in consumption that snowballed alongside a parade of guest stars, controversy over the Queens Remix of “Break My Soul,” and a constant influx of social media content showcasing Beyoncé’s rotating wardrobe from local designers.

Swift’s catalog soared as soon as her tour began on March 17. Even before the July 7 release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which warped her streams beyond the impact of The Eras Tour, consumption had almost doubled, at 372.9 million clicks in the week ending June 1. After the new release receded, her catalog maintained, at 391.4 million by the U.S. leg’s end in the week ending Aug. 10.

Taylor Swift, Eras Tour

Like Beyoncé, Swift found songs within her ever-expanding catalog to highlight, particularly those that weren’t already world-conquering hits. Even with a nightly setlist of more than 40 songs, she left room each night to perform two rotating “surprise songs.” On average, the surprise songs got a 27% bump the week of their performance. Removing performances of songs from Speak Now after the release of the Taylor’s Version set, more affected by new-release streaming patterns than the typical tour impact, the average gain bumps to 31%.

After the exposure and subsequent streaming increase, the typical next-week drop was just 5%, indicating that inclusion in the surprise-song section encouraged sustained streaming action.

Within the show’s routine set pieces, Swift turned a fan-favorite into a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit. Lover’s “Cruel Summer,” from 2019, was the first properly performed song each night at The Eras Tour, helping to reignite Swifties’ passion for the album cut. Without an official music video or announcement, even as Swift launched the 2022 Midnights track “Karma” as a single with its Ice Spice remix, “Cruel Summer” showed unstoppable growth from the tour’s launch. Steady between 1.9-2.1 million streams in the early months of 2023, the song ballooned to 16.7 million by the final U.S. show (in the week ending Aug. 10).

The prolonged championing of “Cruel Summer” and the one-after-another success of Swift’s surprise songs underlined The Eras Tour’s ability to transform her from superstar to stratosphere. Her relationships, philanthropy and seemingly every move during the tour continued to fuel her consumption, consistently more than double the streams she drew from earlier that year.

Both Beyoncé and Swift extended their good fortunes with the release of record-breaking concert films, each delivering profits for distributor AMC and more consumption boosts for their catalogs. The seeds they planted with “Energy, “Cruel Summer” and more took full bloom, even inside movie theaters, with audiences singing and dancing along — except when they had to be on mute.

Months after each tour wrapped in the U.S., Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé scored the pop-dance-R&B(-country) chameleon a streaming increase of 54% the week of its Dec. 1 release, while Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour earned its once-country-now-pop star a 20% boost upon its Oct. 13 release.

Beyoncé and Swift are, of course, enormous stars that were likely to attract some amount of attention for going on tour even if they didn’t plan and work for these kinds of long-term rewards. But this kind of long-term, national growth isn’t only reserved for top-of-the-line megastars, as Maluma, ODESZA and Weezer experienced similar touring impact last year.

Both five years removed from their last stadium tours, Beyoncé and Swift designed their shows for maximum impact and staged campaigns that turned each trek into an era of its own.

Click here for more on the symbiotic relationship between touring and streaming.