What Can Taylor Swift Teach Us About Storytelling in Business?

In business, the key to lasting success, as demonstrated by Swift, Apple, and Starbucks, lies in building a loyal community and continually innovating.



You don’t need to be a ‘Swiftie’ to know how much of a phenomenon Taylor Swift is. Her current ‘Eras Tour’ is the highest grossing concert tour of all time and the first to eclipse USD1 billion in ticket sales.1

The Power of ‘Swiftonomics’

But ticket sales are just the beginning. Software company QuestionPro quizzed 592 Swifties and estimated that fans spent about $93m per show on tickets, merchandise, travel, accommodation, food and outfits. That’s a boost to the US economy of around USD5.7b.2

Spending has been so significant that it was mentioned in the Federal Reserve Beige Book on consumer spending in July 2023.3 Moody’s analysis revealed that revenue per available room increased in every city Swift stopped in.1 (Refer to Chart 1)

Chart 1: Year-over-year change in RevRAR – May 2023

Moodys Analytics CRE_Swiftlation

Source: Moody’s Analytics CRE

With Swift performing six shows in Singapore and seven in Australia, it’s no surprise to learn that her Eras tour broke Australian records when more than four million people tried to snap up around 450,000 tickets for the initial five concerts. Her seven shows are estimated to have injected $100 – 500 million Australian dollars into the economy.4

The Singapore government drew criticism from its ASEAN neighbours for proactively courting Taylor for an exclusivity deal worth a reported USD2 – 3 million. This looks like a pretty smart deal compared to the $500m in estimated boost in spending to the Singapore economy. Even smarter when you consider the significant amount of spending attributed to tourist vs local expenditure.5

What Makes Taylor Swift So Successful as a Business?

At Aura Group, we think deeply about lessons and recipes for success in business. Taylor’s ascent to global domination is a testament to the power of longevity and storytelling to create a community, a theme that resonates deeply with the success stories of many iconic brands in business like Apple and Starbucks. These entities did not reach their zenith overnight; rather, their journey to international acclaim spanned over many decades, marked by strategic narratives and a steadfast commitment to their core values.


When Apple was founded in 1976, it was merely a startup operating out of a garage, selling hand-built personal computers. It wasn't until the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the launch of the iPod and their iconic ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’6  message, coupled with the opening of the first Apple Store, that Apple began to redefine the tech landscape.

Similarly, Starbucks, founded in 1971, spent its first two decades as a regional coffee bean roaster and retailer before pivoting to the café model we recognise today, beginning its global expansion in the 1990s.7

These stories of gradual growth and transformation echo Taylor Swift's own career trajectory. Since her debut in 2006, Swift has meticulously crafted her image and music, evolving from a country music darling to a pop and indie icon, all the while maintaining her signature storytelling prowess. Her journey underscores the significance of patience and resilience in building a lasting legacy.


The key to lasting success, as demonstrated by Swift, Apple, and Starbucks, lies in building a loyal community and continually innovating. Swift's engagement with her fans, much like Apple's focus on user experience and Starbucks' emphasis on customer service, creates a loyal base that grows with the brand. Furthermore, their stories are not static; they evolve with new chapters that keep the audience engaged and invested.


Many believe Swift's success can largely be attributed to her innate ability to tell stories that resonate. Her songs are narratives that weave personal experiences with universal themes, creating an emotional bridge to her audience. This strategy mirrors the way brands like Apple and Starbucks use storytelling to foster a deep connection with their consumers. Apple's narrative of innovation and simplicity and Starbucks' commitment to community and ethical sourcing are more than marketing strategies; they are the core of their brand identities, inviting customers to be part of something bigger.

A Symphony of Successful Business

Taylor Swift's narrative is not just a success story; it's a blueprint for how longevity, storytelling and community can elevate a brand from relevance to iconic status. Like Apple and Starbucks, Swift's journey highlights the importance of laying a strong foundation, connecting through compelling narratives, and staying true to one's values while embracing change.

Swift's story, much like those of Apple and Starbucks, serves as a beacon for businesses and individuals striving for lasting impact, proving that success usually is a marathon, not a sprint.

Disclosure: The writer is self-confessed Swiftie.

Calvin and Connie at Taylow Swift Eras Tour Singapore

Until next month,

Calvin Ng

Managing Director


1. Swiftlation- An Unprecedented Boost
2. The Economy (Taylor's Version)
3. The Fed Beige Book
4. $558 Million and Counting: Swifties’ Bumper Boost to Aussie Economy
5. Where is the S$500 Million That Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is Injecting into S'pore's Economy?
6. Apple Presents iPod
7. Starbucks - About Us


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