Mega-Concerts in Argentina: A Profitable Cultural Industry?
The recent Taylor Swift concerts in Buenos Aires have become the latest landmark for a cultural industry that, according to estimates, generates over 40 million dollars. Sputnik Mundo talked with Argentine economist Juan Valerdi about the actual economic impact and questioned the ease with which dollars can be taken out of the country.
The Impact of Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’
As part of her The Eras Tour, American singer Taylor Swift’s performances in Buenos Aires have not only drawn tens of thousands to the Estadio Monumental, but they have also marked an undeniable economic success. Tickets were offered at 85,000 Argentine pesos (around 230 dollars at the official exchange rate) for preferred seating, and VIP packages reached 155,000 pesos (more than 420 dollars).
Tickets sold out on the website of DF Entertainment, the producer of the artist’s shows in the country, which claimed in June that 65,000 tickets were sold per performance, as reported by the Argentine outlet TN. With only the sale of tickets, Swift’s shows move multi-million-dollar figures. Club Atlético River Plate, owner of the stadium, charges around 500,000 dollars per day to lend the venue for performances, though with Swift, the rental agreement might rise to nearly a million dollars per date, noted Forbes.
Moreover, concerts by world-class artists like the American singer-songwriter attract audiences from other countries in the region that are usually left out of major tours. Such events have motivated fans from neighboring countries like Chile or Uruguay to come to the Argentine capital to see the performer.
Economic Ripple Effect Beyond the Concerts
Speaking with Sputnik, economist Juan Valerdi pointed out that concerts benefit the gastronomic and hotel sectors, stating, “it’s very positive but always limited to a sector of the population that has the means and to a specific city, Buenos Aires — it does not spread to the rest of Argentina.”
He remarked that the guitar player’s concert falls within a context where the national government manages the Central Bank’s limited dollars and sets criteria for imports, determining “which imports are urgent and necessary.”
Indeed, Valerdi implied that by authorizing these concert payments and the spending of dollars abroad, “the government is showing a preference for them over other things.” In October 2022, the Argentine government established a differential dollar rate for activities involving cultural and recreational services and contracts with residents abroad. This exchange rate, dubbed the “Coldplay dollar” because it was implemented just days before the British band’s tour began, set a surcharge of 30% on the official exchange rate.
“The dollar they take home is closer to the values of the financial dollars than the official government import and export dollar,” the expert explained, adding that the official measure ensures at least a 30% tax is paid to take those currencies out of the country.
Buenos Aires: A Stronghold for International Concerts Despite Economic Struggles
Despite Argentina’s complex economic context, faced with an annual inflation rate of 138.3%, Buenos Aires continues to be a stronghold for international concerts. Recently, the city has hosted Canadian singer The Weeknd, Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina—who performed six shows of his tour in the capital city—and Puerto Rican Ricky Martin, among other international artists. In 2022, the concerts of Daddy Yankee and British singer Dua Lipa, as well as the band Coldplay, which managed to fill 10 stadiums, also had significant turnout.
According to a study by the Fundación Mediterránea, about 80 concerts were held in Buenos Aires and surrounding venues in the last months of 2023. The study estimates that with all tickets sold, considering the average ticket price, the concerts held in the capital in the last four months of the year will generate revenues of between 40 and 55 million dollars, just from ticket sales.
The foundation also highlights that these musical events have an impact on other indirect consumption such as tourism. In this regard, the hotel offer in the city reached high levels of occupancy during weeks that coincided with the grand artistic events.