Creating Superfans Podcast Episode 201: Emily Yahr

The exceptional fan experience of the Eras Tour with Emily Yahr

If you’ve been on the Internet at all this year, you have likely seen many stories about Taylor Swift’s game changing Eras Tour. She is breaking records, rewriting the rules, and has had a seismic  (literally seismic!)  impact on just about every area of pop culture.

In today’s episode of the podcast, I am thrilled to welcome my friend Emily Yahr to talk about the Eras tour and what it means not just for concert experience, but for pop culture experience moving forward.

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter for The Washington Post, where she covers TV, music, movies and celebrity culture. She joined the Washington Post in 2008 after previously writing for the Boston Globe, USA Today and the Lexington Kentucky Herald Leader. She was a guest covering the Eras tour at multiple stops and will share her thoughts not just on the tour, but on what’s ahead for Taylor. 

Regardless of the industry you’re in, you’ll hear some actionable takeaways from the Eras Tour that you can incorporate into your business to create your own fervent army of superfans.

listen to the podcast

show notes

[00:02:54] Trevor Noah impressed by Taylor Swift’s popularity.

[00:05:33] Taylor Swift’s concert exceeded everyone’s expectations – especially with the duration of the show!

[00:09:37] Taylor Swift surprised fans with full-length performances.

[00:12:24] Eras tour creates online fandom frenzy.

[00:15:16] Stretching the customer experience: how Taylor masters the before, during, and after.

[00:20:08] How the Eras Tour perfectly showcases Taylor Swift’s evolution as an artist

[00:27:57] Creative jobs at venues attract thousands of applicants.

[00:30:15] What Emily appreciates most as she has witnessed Taylor’s evolution

[00:34:18] Taylor Swift’s tour creates nonstop news from the most unlikely angles

Emily’s article that I mentioned in the podcast: “The bonding experience of watching a Taylor Swift concert from a parking lot.”

Read Emily Yahr’s entertainment articles (including several more on Taylor Swift) here.

transcription

Brittany Hodak [00:00:02]:

Hello and welcome to the Creating Superfans podcast, where you learn how to turn your customers and employees into Superfans. I’m your host, Brittany Hodak, and I’m a speaker, author, and entrepreneur obsessed with all things customer experience. Here’s the thing. We’re living in an experienced economy right now, and regardless of the size or age of your company or even the products or services you’re selling, one thing’s for sure if your customers aren’t telling their friends about you, you’re in trouble. If you want to create Superfans, being great is no longer good enough. You’ve got to be super. This is the show that teaches you how you.

 

If you’ve been on the Internet at all this year, you have likely seen many stories about Taylor Swift’s game changing Eras Tour. She is breaking records, rewriting the rules, and has had a seismic, literally seismic! impact on just about every area of pop culture. Now in today’s episode of the podcast, I am thrilled to welcome my friend Emily Yahr to talk about the Eras tour and what it means not just for concert experience, but for pop culture experience moving forward. Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter for The Washington Post, where she covers TV, music, movies and celebrity culture. She joined the Washington Post in 2008 after previously writing for the Boston Globe, USA Today and the Lexington, Kentucky Herald Leader. She was a guest covering the Eras tour at multiple stops and will share her thoughts not just on the tour, but on what’s ahead for Taylor.

Emily, thank you so much for joining me to talk about Taylor Swift.

Emily Yahr [00:01:51]:

Thank you so much for having me.

Brittany Hodak [00:01:53]:

Well, today we are here to talk about the experience of the Eras tour. And obviously, this became a pop culture phenomenon in a way that not a lot of tours do and has had far reaching impact across all sectors of the economy and entertainment and pop culture and all of the things. So I’m excited to get your expert insight into the era’s experience.

Emily Yahr [00:02:21]:

Yeah, I think no one really expected this tour to blow up the way it did. I mean, I think we all knew it was going to be huge, but it did seem like even at the end, even Taylor herself was maybe a little overwhelmed at just how massive this became. And yeah, I saw that report that it could gross like over a billion dollars for the economy. And I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Like seeing the tour and seeing the impact, it’s it was, it was truly wild.

Brittany Hodak [00:02:54]:

So when she was in Nashville, I actually didn’t go to the show, so I can’t wait to go see it. I’ll go to Europe or maybe catch one of the recently announced dates that’s happening next year in the States. But I went to go see Trevor Noah at the Ryman, the one night that I was in Nashville, the same day Taylor Swift was. And to hear him talk about. It was just really I mean, obviously it was funny because it was Trevor Noah, but he said when he was flying down, at first he thought it was like a bachelorette party, but he was like, who is inviting people to their bachelorette party that are 16, but also like, 75? And he figured it out on the flight with everybody singing Taylor Swift songs and whatever. And so he had all these really funny observations about Taylor taking over a city and what that was like. But then he said to put in perspective, to be able to sell out 70,000 seats not one night, not two nights, but three nights is insane. And he’s like, you know who can’t sell out that arena three days in a row? The team that plays there, like, in every single city. The Titans would not be able to play three games in a row and sell out all three games. And the same is true of all of the other teams. And I just thought that was really great perspective, like, from an entertainer who is in the business of selling tickets. He was like, do you have any idea how insane this is that she’s doing this for several nights in a row across the entire country?

Emily Yahr [00:04:29]:

Yeah, that’s so funny. And yeah, it reminds me, I saw on social media, like, in the last week, I think there was either a rumor I think there was a rumor that Taylor Swift had turned down the Super Bowl halftime show for like she always, I guess, turns it down and always try to get her to play it. And people are making jokes about, of course she wouldn’t play the Super Bowl halftime show. She is literally doing a Super Bowl halftime show every single weekend at these stadiums. But it’s really nice of her to loan her stadium to the football team. It’s really true. I think if they did have Taylor Swift perform a Super Bowl halftime show, I think you would have mostly Swifties in that stadium, which I don’t know if either team would love.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:08]:

That exactly right. We know that they know how to get tickets and they’re willing to pay top dollar. All right, you saw the first US show and the for now last US show, right. So you had, like, a really great sort of bookend to the Heiress tour. Take us back to that first night in Glendale, kind of. What were your expectations and what surprised you about the show?

Emily Yahr [00:05:33]:

I think the main question that everyone was asking going in was, okay, it’s her Eras tour. She has a lot of Eras. She has ten albums. How is she going to fit that all in like, a two hour show or however long a concert goes? Maybe she could stretch it to two and a half hours and then yeah, I’ll never forget sitting through that show and then all of a sudden, it started exactly at 08:00 and then at 10:00 it was clear we were like barely halfway done. It was like, oh, she’s just going to keep playing. So seeing the show go till 1115 or so and realizing that she’s going to do all these dates for 3 hours and 15 minutes and then eventually it stretched like three and a half hours. I think that was the most shocking thing because it was just like, logistically, how is she going to do that? And then she did. So yeah, I think you could tell that everyone was expecting the show to wrap up faster than it did and then it just kept going.

Brittany Hodak [00:06:31]:

So, so many interesting lessons there and takeaways. I think the first is that everyone’s expectation was that it wouldn’t be that long just because concerts aren’t typically right, but here’s somebody who’s the biggest artist on the planet who goes in and says, just because the rules say a concert is this length doesn’t mean I can’t perform twice that.

Emily Yahr [00:06:56]:

Exactly. And I think, yeah, you know, you have a few artists that do that kind of thing, but I think people are know, a Taylor Swift show, it involves a lot of dancing and moving around and she’s not know behind a guitar, behind a, like, how can she do that? And I think that mean, she hasn’t given any interviews at like since the tour started, but that seems to be the number one question I’m seeing is just like, how is she physically doing this multiple times a week? And then in her know, segment of shows in La. She did six shows in seven nights and was able to do a three and a half hour show every single night. So, yeah, she really seemed to defy expectations there.

Brittany Hodak [00:07:34]:

Yeah, I also have so many questions about just the physicality of it and obviously I know she’s not doing interviews, she’s not doing meet and greets. I’ve seen people saying she’s not talking at all when she’s not on stage, but the fact that she’s able to pull it off I think is obviously, you know, there’s such a juxtaposition between Taylor and Beyonce just because they’re both incredible and at the top of their game and doing the tour at the same time. And Beyonce’s show is like an hour and a half. Like Taylor’s literally doing two Beyonce shows every single night.

Emily Yahr [00:08:07]:

Oh, well, yeah, I wasn’t sure how long the Beyonce show was actually. I really wanted to go to the Beyonce show in DC where I live, but I was going to La because that was the last Taylor show. So I was so sad I missed it because that, I mean, I’ve seen clips also and that looks yeah, I mean it is kind of amazing that people get to see both of those stadium shows this summer, but yeah, three and a half hour concert is no joke. I mean, I had to sit down like multiple times. And that, I think, kind of became a running joke around the people I was sitting near at the Phoenix Show, too. We can’t even stand this long and she is up there on stage just yeah, for such a long time.

Brittany Hodak [00:08:45]:

Well, and I think, again, kind of a takeaway for anybody who isn’t a pop star is don’t be afraid to give your customers more. No matter how high their expectations are coming in, you can still find ways to surprise and delight. No one on the planet thought Taylor Swift was going to do a three and a half hour concert 200 times, or however many it’s going to be by the time the tour finally wraps up. That is, I think, a really great testament to the fact that she doesn’t.

Emily Yahr [00:09:18]:

Have to do that.

Brittany Hodak [00:09:19]:

She made the show so much better than she needed to make it. She could have done an hour and 45 minutes and sold the tickets for the exact same amount. Had people love the show, but she went above and beyond, which is what Taylor always does.

Emily Yahr [00:09:37]:

Absolutely. Yeah. There were so many points in the show where she could have cut some of the songs or I think people were expecting a lot of medleys because just to get all of those songs in. But no, she performed it was like 44, 45 songs every night and most of them were in full. There were a few times where she kind of shortened some of them, but yeah, I think I was surprised by that, too, on the first night, just because also there was the question of she had released Folklore and Evermore during the pandemic. Those aren’t really like what you think of when you think of stadium songs. A lot of them are a lot slower or just have kind of more of like an indie folk sound. And no, she performed them like they were stadium hits and I mean, they were definitely maybe some of the quieter moments, but she made it work and she performed, I think, like six or seven songs from each album. So, yeah, she managed to get that in there, too. And I think that was another question a lot of people had.

Brittany Hodak [00:10:30]:

Yeah, well, and I think, again, that’s a really great example of not making the obvious choice, not saying, like, oh, I’ve got to do what’s expected.

Emily Yahr [00:10:41]:

Yeah, because some of those songs, some of the most quiet, really sad songs from Evermore and Folklore, she has this song called Marjorie about her grandmother. And I was shocked. I was like, oh, we’re going to Marjorie. And it seems like almost like one of her more personal songs. And just to see her performing it at the stadium was really interesting. And then I think I saw like halfway through the tour, people started bringing photos of her grandmother to hold up during that song. And I think that might be a little too much but, yeah, that got a big presence during the show.

Brittany Hodak [00:11:23]:

Well, let’s talk about all of this sort of real life meming of things, because obviously you saw the first show, you saw the last show of the Sleg, and also, I should say, for people, you also went to a show in the middle and wrote a great story. So everybody needs to check it out. We’ll link it in the show notes about the parking lot. Swifties people who just go to camp out and listen to the show from the parking lot. So you’ve seen up close, you’ve heard a lot of stories up close of people going to extraordinary lengths to get to the show and doing sort of crazy things, making it an event. What are some of those things that developed during the Heiress tour with fans that you were surprised to see? And how do you think that will change fandom, generally speaking, moving forward? Like the way people think about concerts, the way people expect things from the artists they love. Let’s talk a little bit about that from the fan perspective.

Emily Yahr [00:12:24]:

Yeah, I think another thing that kind of set this tour apart from any other, maybe ever, was just the amount of times that people were just watching it online. I talked to a lot of people at the last show in La. And so many of them said that they spent their weekends just like, live streaming the concert on TikTok every night. That’s just what they did, no matter the time zone. So I think by doing that and having this 70,000 plus in the stadium every night, but then also having maybe millions of people, so many people watching these live streams. Yeah, all these kind of memes and inside jokes and things sort of did develop in the fandom throughout all of that, which was kind of fun to see in La. It was so different in a lot of ways from the Phoenix show because people had kind of learned this behavior. There are certain chants that you say during songs, like when she sings Bad Blood. At one point, she did a remix with Kendrick Lamar. And there’s a part that goes, you forgive, you forget, but you never let it go. And that’s something that Taylor doesn’t say when she’s singing it. But during this, everybody screamed, you know, same during delicate. There’s a part where you’re supposed to go, one, two, three, let’s go, bitch. And everyone just screams that line. You could actually hear that outside the stadium at some shows because it was so loud. And these are never things that Taylor told anyone to do. It was just things that fans picked up on because I feel like Taylor Swift is really good at feeling like you have inside jokes with her or you just know her so well. And being able to do those kind of little things during the show, I think just help people really connect as well.

Brittany Hodak [00:14:02]:

Well, and I noticed that Michaels is now a tour sponsor of the Jonas Brothers Tour, which I think is something that probably never would have happened had Taylor Swift not single handedly revived the bead and friendship bracelet making.

Emily Yahr [00:14:25]:

This is has to be like a bead shortage, I imagine. Like when at all these cities and this is something I had never heard of, really. And then I think at the Philly show, when I talked to people who were watching from the parking lot, they were telling me that I guess friendship bracelets, like making friendship bracelets at her show, has always been a thing. But then it picked up even more this time because she has a song on Midnight’s, I believe, where there’s a line that says make the friendship bracelets. And so people thought that she noticed that over the years. So then it became like a really big thing. But yeah, you would just see people up to their elbows in friendship bracelets and even celebrities who are at the tour with exchange bracelets with people. So I’m not surprised to hear maybe the Jonas Brothers noticed that and also wanted to get in on that trend.

Brittany Hodak [00:15:16]:

Well, one of the things that I always talk about when it comes to customer experience is the idea of stretching the experience. So a lot of times, regardless of what business you’re in, whether you’re a rock star or running a not so live streamed business, we tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the during part of the experience. And what really great businesses and what Taylor especially does a really great job of is elongating that experience, stretching it so that the before and the after are just as exciting, just as rewarding as the during. And obviously she sets the bar very high with the during being the actual concert. But I think some of those cultural things, some of the involvement that she has, even if she’s not specifically asking fans to do it, she’s sort of endorsing it by liking a Tumblr post or liking an Instagram post and sort of sending those signals that she enjoys things. She’s helping create an entire experience that stretches beyond just the part where you’re at the show. This becomes something that you and your friends are looking forward to as an event and then something that you enjoy looking back on and seeing sort of in the rear view mirror. And I think that her participation in some of those things has helped make it even more of an event. People that are going to remember forever, and not just like, oh, that was one of the great concerts that I went to in the summer of 2023.

Emily Yahr [00:16:46]:

Yeah, no, it’s such a great point. And I think too, just with the costumes people wore, it really did become if you were going to the show, that became like a huge part of the lead up. Like you start planning your outfit. But then I talked to people who were like, oh, well, I saw someone else on TikTok had that idea, so I had to be creative and think of something else. And that was such a big part of it. And then people would post on TikTok and Instagram how they put their outfits together. And that became such a huge I mean, I was amazed by people’s creativity, honestly, at some of the costumes I saw and the outfits at all of the shows. I remember in Philadelphia, someone because I prided myself on being able to understand all of them, even if they were very obscure references. But in Philadelphia, someone had on it was like a broom and like a dust pan, and I could not figure out what that was. And then I heard someone behind me sorry. I heard someone behind me say, oh, that’s for the song Clean. I was like, oh, my God. That would not have even occurred to me. That’s just such a literal interpretation of the song Clean. But, yeah, seeing the way people did that and picked out, again, the most obscure references from her lyrics to dress up, that part was really fascinating.

Brittany Hodak [00:18:00]:

What, did you wear your three times to the eras store?

Emily Yahr [00:18:04]:

Well, I mean, I was reporting on it, so I had to dress normally. So I definitely felt like I was very conspicuous in just my normal clothes.

Brittany Hodak [00:18:12]:

That’s a narc. That’s a press person.

Emily Yahr [00:18:15]:

Exactly. It probably helped my credibility as a journalist because they could tell I’m there for work. But when I stopped to talk to people and some people were very upset that I didn’t have any friendship bracelets and they insisted on giving me some, so that was very kind of them. But yeah, I could not believe the amount of effort people went to. I saw someone dressed up. It was like, as a friendship bracelet. Like their entire outfit was friendship bracelets. I still can’t get over it. It was incredible.

Brittany Hodak [00:18:43]:

Oh, so it was like a lot of small ones. Not like one. They weren’t like giant beads wrapped around their body. It was like lots of small ones.

Emily Yahr [00:18:51]:

Lots of small ones all, like, sewed together. And I was just like, oh, my God, the amount of time this must have taken. Wow.

Brittany Hodak [00:18:57]:

And then I have not personally looked, but I am curious if there is, like, a whole subfandom of people showing what they’ve done with their outfits after the tour. Like, are you displaying it on a mannequin? Is it becoming, like, art in your room? I think that would be a really fascinating thing to sort of look at.

Emily Yahr [00:19:16]:

That’s true. I have not seen that. But I would not be surprised yet if it was in some special case or just became art, because a lot of these outfits were so one of.

Brittany Hodak [00:19:27]:

The things that I talk about a lot generally is the idea that expectations are always getting higher. Customer expectations are always on the rise because of technology, because of competitors, because of what we see. And that what was considered good enough three years ago may not be good enough today. And what’s good enough today is probably not going to be good enough three years from now. So I would love your thoughts on now that Taylor has delivered this tour, now that she has shown that an entertainer can go for this long, do this much, what do you think that’s going to do for customer and concert goer expectations moving forward, not just for Taylor, but for other artists as well?

Emily Yahr [00:20:08]:

Oh, yeah, I think this has definitely changed the game in a lot of ways, just seeing the enormous success of this tour. And, yeah, it will be interesting because it might not be possible for some people to perform that long. But I think one thing that it kind of reminds people is that people really do want to see the span in your work. And it was so interesting to me, as someone who has covered Taylor Swift since she was a country singer, to see her go back and do some of her earliest songs and her songs on Fearless, even though that album came out in 2008. I mean, I think some of the biggest screams yeah. Were for You Belong With Me and Love Story, even though she’s had so many newer hits that presumably more of the fan base knows, just because she’s gotten so much more famous over time. But there was just something really special about seeing her perform like her earliest work. And it seems like a lot of singers obviously still do perform their earliest hits, but it’s almost I know some probably don’t enjoy that, like performing the songs that made them really famous. But there really was something so interesting about seeing Taylor perform a whole evolution over the course of the concert. And I even saw today, Winona Judd just announced a show where she’s doing it, said she’s performing her entire first album and then her newest album. And I was like, oh, my God, Winona is performing her eras again. I don’t know if that’s, like, a direct result from Taylor or if that was even a consideration, but yeah, I would not be surprised at all to see artists going forward, maybe thinking about their concerts more in those sort of time periods, just because it worked so well in this case. And fans really enjoyed it too. Well.

Brittany Hodak [00:21:48]:

And I think it takes a very specific type of artist to be able to do that. I mean, clearly there are a lot of artists that are touring off the success of songs from 20, 30, 40 years ago. And there’s always this weird tension of they want to perform their new album that probably nobody has heard. And all of the fans are like, no, we’re here because we want you to play the hits and there’s that weird sort of tension. So I think the way that Taylor was able to, as you said, bring in some of the songs from Folklore and Evermore and also Midnight’s and I don’t think she ever toured think I don’t I don’t think she ever toured any of those songs. So she had so many albums worth of material that works. When you’ve got an engaged fan base that streams every single one of your albums from front to back and buys the vinyl and listens to it a million times, it’ll be interesting to see how people whose audiences aren’t quite so engaged are able to incorporate some of the things that she’s now introduced as part of the cultural expectations around the show.

Emily Yahr [00:22:51]:

Yeah, and I think that she I know a lot of artists do this, but she really doubled down on kind of the anticipation of her surprise songs every night. There were two songs in the set that she said she was going to try really hard to never play the same song twice. I think she ended up doubling up a couple of times, but for the most part, it was always a new song. And yeah, again, I know this is something that artists do. They’ll change up the set list, they’ll do something new on acoustic. But there really was something about every single night having something different in that spot that also really gave people something to look forward to and that sort of became a joke online too. It’s surprise song o’clock. Some people who wouldn’t live stream the whole concert would always tune in around 1030 or so in whatever time zone she was playing in because they were desperate to know what the surprise songs would be.

Brittany Hodak [00:23:37]:

So let’s put on our wild speculation hats here for a minute. Clearly there is going to be something on the back end. Taylor Swift is a genius at sort of marketing and releasing things. Do you have any expectations or any ideas or wild notions about what might be coming? I mean, clearly I’m sure they were recording every single show with lots and lots of cameras capturing all the audio. As you said, she has these renditions of the surprise songs in addition to the rest of the show. What do you think Taylor fans might have to look forward to in a product standpoint? Moving forward?

Emily Yahr [00:24:18]:

Yeah. I mean, there definitely seems to be some sort of documentary in the works. Like at her last la. Shows, she had a cameraman on stage with her. I think the first night they said he was kind of like almost blocking her at sometimes. They were clearly getting a lot of footage from that. They had a little robot camera thing the next. Yeah, a lot of speculation about where that will land. Maybe Disney plus. Maybe of.

Brittany Hodak [00:24:43]:

Yeah, I was going to say she’s done streamers with Netflix and Disney Plus. I mean, clearly anyone on the planet would be crazy to not want to stream that. I’m sure they all have been clamoring to be the one that she picks.

Emily Yahr [00:24:58]:

Yeah. So I think there would definitely be some sort of tour documentary. I’ve seen people say they really, really want just a compilation of every live song. I think that would be amazing if she just did that all on Spotify or something because you don’t really hear acoustic versions of these songs very often and that’s always really interesting to hear.

Brittany Hodak [00:25:17]:

I feel like if she does it, there will be a physical component too. So like an era’s vinyl box set with 15 vinyl records or whatever it would take to hold all of them, right?

Emily Yahr [00:25:29]:

Yeah. The vinyl part has been a huge part of her of Midnights and of her rereleases too. And I remember Midnight sold a million physical copies in its first week, which is basically unheard of these days. But the vinyl part definitely has something to do with that. And I saw she’s releasing vinyls for the upcoming 1989 Taylor’s version and yeah, that was crazy too. On the last night of the La show or the one I went to, she announced 1999 Taylor’s version was going to be coming in October. So I think that was the loudest scream of the concert for sure. So obviously that’s going to drop in a few months. So yeah, I think you’re right. It’ll be definitely a documentary of some sort. But then a lot of physical copies of the music too.

Brittany Hodak [00:26:15]:

Yeah, it’ll be a nice bow on the experience for everybody who was able to go and for everybody who wasn’t able to go. I mean, I think several of the people that you talked to that were camping out in the parking lot weren’t there in the parking lot because they didn’t try to get tickets. Right. Like they had done everything they could and they didn’t. So camping out was sort of the last resort.

Emily Yahr [00:26:39]:

Yeah, that actually really surprised me when I went to Philly because I think maybe that’s kind of started the hype around this tour, was just how it ticket, like couldn’t handle the amount of requests for tickets and then it led to congressional hearings and it just became this massive story last fall. And in Philly I just kind of figured everybody that would be there yeah, had tried and just wasn’t able to, but they were not giving up. It was an hour before the show. It was like even minutes before the show and they were still refreshing ticketmaster over and over because there were rumors of these last minute ticket drops or just like going up to the box office and kind of just begging or going to resale sites and really deciding if you were going to spend $1,500 on a seat behind the stage. In that moment you hear her starting to play for Summer, like, are you. Going to pull the trigger. So that was something I was not expecting. But people, most people didn’t make it in the stadium, but some people did. Some people just you were like, you know what, I’m here, it’s worth it, and then bought the tickets and ran. So that was really interesting.

Brittany Hodak [00:27:38]:

And I also saw so many reports over the summer of people who got jobs at the venue, like people who weren’t able to buy tickets. And so, like six months ago, they signed up to work at these stadiums just so that they could hopefully be there on the Heiress tour night.

Emily Yahr [00:27:57]:

Yeah, that was one of my favorite stories I did with another coworker about people that got jobs at the venues and yeah, I was just really impressed again by their creativity. And it was interesting to talk to people then who advertised for these jobs, who were just like one of the main jobs was giving out these glowing wristbands to people as they come in the stadium. That was something that one person I talked to, his company hired for that on every date. And so they always needed, I think, like 50 or 60 people just to be at gates around the stadium and would hand out the wristbands. And he said they would get 1100 applications for these jobs. And it was just really wild. And I asked him if it was hard to kind of sort out the people that would do the job and then some people, because theoretically you could get this job and then just run away and never be seen again in the depths of the stadium. But he said most people, they were obviously very excited to get to see the show, but they also really wanted to work, too. And yes, a lot of people did that. They worked in parking lots and concessions. And I talked to one girl who got hired as the security guard in front of the stage. So she had to face away from the stage the entire time, so she couldn’t actually see what was going on, but to her, it was like completely worth it. She still got to be there and hear the whole concert. Yeah.

Brittany Hodak [00:29:15]:

I wonder if there’s just a huge lull in the employee side after the shows for all of these vendors of everyone who is like, okay, yeah, now I’m quitting my job as a food vendor, I’m quitting my job as security, I’m quitting my job as whatever because they were just there. That would be an interesting fallback to go and look at the drop or the additional jobs that are being hired for in each city after Taylor leaves.

Emily Yahr [00:29:44]:

Yeah, it does seem like the people in charge of the companies were then hoping people yeah, stay on and keep the jobs. But I think for a lot of fans, it was purely to see Taylor.

Brittany Hodak [00:29:54]:

So as somebody who’s been following Taylor now for what is it 15, 1617 years. Whatever you’ve been writing about her since her career, what are some of the things that surprise you? What are some of the things that you look at and you’re like, wow, it’s hard to believe that this is the same person that I was writing about when Fearless came out in 2008.

Emily Yahr [00:30:15]:

Yeah, really. I mean, there are so many things, I think especially in country music in the beginning. Yeah. As you know, there are not a lot of women that get played on the radio. Women have a really tough time getting airplay as opposed to male artists. And I think a lot of people doubted Taylor in the beginning. I’ve talked to people who worked with her as a teenage songwriter who said that their fellow songwriter friends laughed at them. They’re like, what are you doing, like, wasting your time writing with teenager? And I mean, obviously, who’s laughing now? But there was so much doubt sort of surrounding at the beginning because Nashville executives really did not think there was a market for a teenager to write her own songs. And she obviously proved them wrong. But I think she always sort of had this sort of like, underdog feeling, I think, because of that, because it was hard for her to break through in the beginning and that sort of shaped a lot of her earlier work. And now seeing her just on top of the world like this and selling out just stadium after stadium and knowing how there was doubt in the beginning has just been really interesting for me to see that. And I feel like the music industry should learn a lot of lessons from that. And I think for a while, country music was maybe trying to find the next Taylor Swift, but she is such a singular artist, too. It is kind of hard to replicate it. But yeah, seeing that evolution has been really fascinating.

Brittany Hodak [00:31:40]:

What do you think we’re going to see from.

Emily Yahr [00:31:44]:

I think, well, we have the rest of the rereleases and I’m very excited for her to rerecord her debut album where she had definitely a very southern accent. I’m very curious how that will sound now. So I think that it kind of seems like maybe she would try to wrap up all the rereleases by the end of the eras tour because that would be kind of fitting with all of her eras combined or kind of just in this era’s chapter and then just start releasing new music. But it’s so hard to tell with her because I also didn’t think we would get a new album before the rereleases are done and then Midnights Drop in the fall. So, yeah, it’s so hard to predict what she’s going to do, and I think she kind of likes it that way. She talked about how she used to release an album every two years and then go on tour the following year and then release another album and she was kind of in this pattern. But now, partly because of the pandemic, that has all just been shaken up so much. I think she still likes trying to surprise people. What she’ll do next?

Brittany Hodak [00:32:45]:

Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s another new album that comes out before the Heiress tour wraps. Now that we know it’s going to be, what, eight, nine months, minimally of shows, who knows, maybe she’ll drop another new album.

Emily Yahr [00:33:02]:

And I feel like she could just keep there as tour going for as long as she wants. Looking back, I was like, oh, it’s great. I’ll do like the first show and last show. And now, of course, we’re like, there’s so many more shows left on this tour, so I could easily also see it like going into 2025 as well.

Brittany Hodak [00:33:17]:

She just going, so you’ve seen the show twice. How many more times do you want to see it and do you have any plans to see it?

Emily Yahr [00:33:25]:

Definitely yes. I want to see it in Europe. I currently have tickets to the Zurich show, which I think will be so fascinating to see that in a different just a different kind of audience or maybe there will know a lot of Americans. I’m curious what the crowds will be like. I’m sure they will still be very I mean, it would be great to see her in London, like at the end of the Europe Leg, but then also she could announce more dates, so definitely in Zurich and then we’ll see again, because you just learn so much by being there and seeing the fans in person. And I don’t think anyone has a connection to their fans.

Brittany Hodak [00:34:07]:

Well, Emily, thank you so much for joining me to talk about Taylor and The Heiress tour. Before we wrap, is there anything else that you want to say or add?

Emily Yahr [00:34:18]:

No, I think I’m so glad that you wanted to talk about this. I mean, this has consumed so much of my year because there have just been so many endless angles to this tour. And so, yeah, it’s going to be kind of weird now for the rest of the year and who knows how long to not have the eras tour make news every single day made news. So I guess she has a few more shows this year. But yeah, I don’t know what all these websites also are going to do because everything was covered. I think my favorite one, honestly, was once I forget which show it was, but she accidentally swallowed a bug on stage. And this was everywhere. I saw so many headlines about this bug and then I think even the Post, like our food section did a story of what really happens when you swallow a bug. And I was like, it’s just incredible the amount of news Taylor Swift makes. Like you can find an angle in everything. And again, it’s just such a long just thinking of her again back in the country days, and now it will never not be just so interesting to me how far she’s come in general.

Brittany Hodak [00:35:22]:

Yeah, well, and the impact, like you said, obviously, I have a whole newsletter about customer experience lessons from Taylor Swift. Everybody can find something in what she’s doing, but it’s fascinating to think about the impact she’s had on every single sector clothing stores, beads being sold, obviously, all of the travel and tourism industry and the huge amount there. And where was it in California, where they were like, oh, it registered as an earthquake because everybody was so loud and stomping at the stadium. So, yeah, it’s rare that you have a tour that touches every single part of not just pop culture, but really?

Emily Yahr [00:36:08]:

Yeah, the earthquake in Seattle, right. Like, there are geologists, like, weighing in on that. It’s like, that is not an angle yeah, I would have expected to see.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:15]:

Exactly. Right.

Emily Yahr [00:36:16]:

Like, scientists are getting involved. It truly has touched everything. And I just wrote about this in kind of like my wrap up for the tour, but a question I kept getting from people and I’ve also seen online. It was like, oh, I knew Taylor Swift was a big deal, but I didn’t know she was this big of a deal. It’s like, yeah, no, she really is. And her fan base just keeps multiplying, too, so there is no end in sight. And, yeah, it’ll be really interesting to see what she does next.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:41]:

Yeah, it’ll be really fun looking back ten years from now at what Taylor becomes and how she continues to shape the planet. Well, Emily, thank you again. Where can people find more from you?

Emily Yahr [00:36:55]:

You can go to the Washington Post to my author page there, also on Twitter, just at Emily yar. Y-A-R. So I see most of my stories there, and, yeah, those are pretty much the main two places.

Brittany Hodak [00:37:08]:

Amazing. Well, thanks again, Emily. Can’t wait to hear about the Zurich show.

Emily Yahr [00:37:13]:

Thank you so much. It was so fun to talk to you.

Brittany Hodak [00:37:15]:

All right, that’s all the time we have for today’s episode of the Creating Superfans podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. Now, remember, if you’re a superfan of today’s episode, you can help us out in a big way by leaving a review and a rating wherever you get your podcasts. It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a huge difference in helping others discover the show. Now, until next time, remember, Superfandom is a two way street. Show your love for your customers and your employees, and they’ll love you right back. We’ve got an exciting show lined up for next week, so I hope we’ll see you right back here. Bye.

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