Beyoncé and Taylor Swift Bring A New Meaning to the Concert Film

In 2023, two tours were dominating the road. It seemed like every weekend more and more people were flocking to the stadiums across America to see Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour and Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour. While it does seem like everyone was seeing these artists live, tickets were not only hard to come by, but pricey on the resale market. That’s why when audiences saw camera crews on stage at both tours, it was only suspected that Taylor Swift and Beyoncé would be coming out with their own concert films. However, these films were not exactly what the public expected, not only raking in millions of dollars at the movie theater, but also, allowing these shows to become more accessible than ever before.

 

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TICKETMASTER BUST

Like many ticket sales, Ticketmaster was prepared for the large influx of fans buying tickets for both Renaissance and Eras tours. However, technology is not as powerful as these women, as Ticketmaster faced multiple crashes, causing fans with presale codes to lose out on buying tickets. Many fans were upset that ticket scalpers received presale codes, rather than true Swifties and members of the Beehive.

 

Because of these malfunctions at Ticketmaster, many disabled fans were left with little options for accessible seating. ADA seating would sporadically pop upon the ticket platform, and some able-bodied fans were able to snag a seat out of pure panic. While fans who were in this situation asked if they could swap seats with disabled fans who needed the ADA seating, there was nothing that Ticketmaster, nor the arenas could do.

 

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NEW LEGS

Even with these crashes, these tours were a smashing success. The Eras Tour grossed $1 billion, being the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, and Renaissance grossed $579 million. Each show was met with glowing reviews, celebrity attendances, and hysterical fans, ranging from those who have been around since these artists’ breakout singles, to the newest fans seeing their favorite singer for the very first time.  It’s no doubt that both of these tours will go down in history, especially with new Eras Tour dates announced, and a rumored second leg of Beyoncé‘s tour with the release of ‘Cowboy Carter’. 

 

Even with these new dates, confirmed and rumored, not every single fan is going to be able to see these tours live and in person. There are many factors that can go into why a fan cannot see their favorite artist live, which is why Beyoncé and Swift were able to introduce their tours to the silver screen.

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THE CONCERT FILMS

Concert films are not new to the Cinema. Artists have been utilizing concert films as an archive for their tours. For example, ‘Michael Jackson’s This is It’, gave audiences a glimpse into Jackson’s rehearsal footage and performances, premiering after his death. ‘One Direction: This is Us’ merged the documentary and concert film in order to give fans an inside look at their tour, and receive high-quality footage of their shows, even after they broke up the band years later. 

 

Though Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are still very much alive and performing, their concert films served a different purpose, rather than just to archive their performances. Both artists have worked on their own documentaries and music films in the past, such as ‘Journey to Fearless’ and ‘Homecoming’. However, both of these films felt different. They weren’t for the artist to document their milestones and how they got to where they are now. These concert films served the fans, creating an accessible way to see their favorite artist.

 

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While both films served a similar purpose, they both were distinct in nature. The Eras Tour film was strictly the concert footage, as Swift was costumed the same way each night of filming for continuity purposes. The renaissance film, however, featured behind-the-scenes footage of Beyoncé, picking the set list, rehearsing, and even including her daughter, Blue Ivy, in a portion of the show. Both of these films featured long run times, but each fan sat and awaited each waking moment of the films, no matter if they saw the show live, or if this was their first time experiencing these tours.

Even before the home releases of these films, both were able to give audiences an accessible experience of both of these tours. Not only were these films released in movie theaters across the country in almost every city, therefore eliminating travel costs, but each film was specifically priced in order for audiences to be able to see these shows at a lower price. Swift even made her tickets significant numbers to her fans, such as $19.89 to signify the year Swift was born. These films were also able to be shown across the country for multiple dates, which gave audiences more time to catch these films in theaters, rather than just a weekend in their city. With the home releases of these films, fans can tune into the Eras or Renaissance tour at any given moment within the comfort of their own home, while it is not the same as seeing their favorite artist live, and in person, fans are still able to take home the experiences of these history-making tours.

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

The music industry is changing every day, and the touring industry is no different. After COVID, the live music scene has changed significantly, with higher ticket prices, limited dates, and even more surprise shows for audiences. As your favorite artist seems to be getting bigger every second, it may seem overwhelming to try and catch your favorite singer live. Concert films are starting to seem like the easy answer for those who might struggle to see their favorite artist live. Though these films are not able to replace the experience of a life concert, they may still give a good hand and accessibility for those who cannot catch their favorite singer live. This raises many questions as to what is next for the touring industry. Will more artists create concert films? Will they start touring to less cities and release concert films in order to compensate? Well, these questions remain unanswered for now, it is important to note that the concert film brings a new kind of accessibility to those who may not be able to see their favorite singer in person. 

 

By Abigail Johnson

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