Can the Eras Tour supercharge a musician’s career?

More streams. More fans. Better riders. THE FACE speaks to artists who’ve shared a stage with Taylor Swift.

Being a support act is, for so many artists, a resoundingly shitty experience. Maybe you get six warm beers on your rider. Maybe you play to 25 people. Maybe you get paid £300. And, once your set is finished, maybe a well-intentioned soul will buy a T‑shirt at your merch table, and you’ll allow them to talk at you for 15 minutes about how you could really benefit from working with a producer like Rick Rubin or Butch Vig. For a lot of musicians, that’s the best case scenario.

There is one support gig, however, that attracts more attention, renown and media coverage than even a lot of big headline tours: the opening slot at Taylor Swift’s blockbuster, economy-shifting, attention-sucking two-year career retrospective, the Eras Tour.

To be an Eras Tour support act is to get a co-sign from one of the most powerful figures in the history of media and entertainment, and to potentially expose your music to hundreds of thousands of people. As anyone who’s ever incurred their wrath knows, the Swifties can be a powerful, life-changing force.

Since the tour started on 17th March, 2023 – altogether a more innocent time, before people even knew a concert tour could gross over a billion US dollars – 11 artists have performed at the Eras Tour: Paramore, Gayle, Beabadoobee, Muna, Gracie Abrams, Phoebe Bridgers, Owenn, Girl In Red, Haim, Sabrina Carpenter and Louta. Some arrived at the tour more famous than others – Paramore and Haim could already sell out arenas before they performed on Swift’s stadium run – but it’s undeniable that, in sheer media attention alone, the Eras Tour was a boon for all.

But can an Eras support slot materially change an artist’s life? And what could it do for comparatively smaller acts like Mette, Griff and Benson Boone, the openers at Swift’s Wembley Stadium shows later this month?

Norwegian musician Marie Ulven Ringheim, aka Girl in Red, supported eight Eras shows throughout the US in June 2023. Before she was asked to play, she’d never even been to a stadium before, and couldn’t even grasp how big the shows might be. I joined kinda early on in the tour and it eventually just grew bigger and bigger and bigger,” she says. Every single day, there were new headlines about it.” Ringheim quickly noticed her fanbase was being boosted by impressed Swifties. After I played shows I would receive a bunch of messages from people being like, I didn’t know who you were before’ or I’d heard of you, but I never checked you out, and now we’re blasting your album on our way back home,’” she says.

And to think Ringheim almost declined Swift’s offer. It clashed with some other dates that I had and I was like, Oh my God, I can’t disappoint my fans,’” she recalls. I was in the studio with [Swift producer and The National member] Aaron Dessner and he was like Marie, you’re fucking crazy if you’re even thinking about that. You’re going on this tour.’”

As soon as she stepped on the tour bus, Ringheim was pleased she’d taken Dessner’s advice. I kept telling [Taylor] how special it was that I was there. It was just a one of a kind opportunity,” she remembers. It was a very, very, special time in my life. This time last year, I was in one of the coolest places [career-wise] I’ve ever been in my life, so it means everything.”


During Haim’s run on the tour, the LA pop-rock trio enjoyed a 59 per cent increase in average daily Spotify streams in the US and globally, compared to their average daily streams the week before their appearance. Paramore also saw their streams increase in France, Sweden and Portugal, while Sabrina Carpenter saw various levels of uplift in the territories she performed in – Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Singapore and Australia – with her average daily Spotify streams in the former four countries increasing around 55 per cent around the time of her performances. You could argue that the sheer halo effect of performing on the Eras tour set Carpenter up for the blockbuster year she’s currently having, giving her enough name recognition to make Espresso an instant frontrunner for song of the summer.

You’d assume that the tour would also give support acts a tasty boost in social numbers. But according to data from social analytics website Socialblade, simply performing on the Eras tour doesn’t automatically cause the kind of dramatic surges that hand-rubbing managers dream of – unless you’re one of the lucky few musicians who got a photo with Taylor posted on her Instagram grid. Phoebe Bridgers, for example, gained some 145,000 new Instagram followers after Swift posted a pic of them performing their duet Nothing New together back in May 2023.

Beyond hard data, though, there’s undeniable value in the way that an Eras tour slot can enhance an artist’s confidence by pushing them onto some of the world’s biggest stages. Take 20-year-old Nashville musician Gayle, who had a viral hit with her 2021 track ABCDEFU and performed on 13 Eras shows over the course of 2023. Before the tour, she was playing venues like New York’s 1500 capacity Webster Hall – large, especially for a young artist, but a far cry from the 100,000 people that crammed into LA’s SoFi Stadium for Swift’s show.

It definitely helped my confidence that [Taylor] believed in me and I did feel like there were positive reactions to me opening up for her. But I’m still an insecure person – it didn’t necessarily fix everything,” Gayle says. There are times where you get emotional and you’re about to cry because you’re so excited.” By this point, Gayle has presumably adjusted to the stadium rock lifestyle: she’s currently on the road supporting P!nk in the UK and Ireland.

It also feels good to know that one of the most successful songwriters on the planet admires your work. I did not take it lightly that Taylor asked me to open up for her,” Gayle says. I truly believe she wouldn’t ask somebody that she didn’t think was good, so for her to believe in me to play stadiums, to open up for her, I took that very personally… It definitely helped me believe in myself and helped me feel like I was going down the right path in my life, in my career.”

A Swift cosign isn’t necessarily enough to calm pre-stage jitters when you’re over 50,000 to 100,000 people a night. As former FACE cover star Beabadoobee earlier this year, the 24-year-old said that she was terrified every single day of that tour.

People were like: You’ll get used to it’ – like, no,” the 24-year-old said. I was literally clenching my butt cheeks for the entire 30 minutes I was onstage. It was terrifying. That’s why I have so much respect for Taylor Swift. I’m like, How the hell do you do it?’”

That’s something Mette, Griff and Boone have to look forward to: the combined terror and thrill of playing at Wembley Stadium, one of the largest concert venues in the world. They’ll each perform to 90,000 people – that’s more than the population of some small towns. Hopefully, they’ll see a tidy bump in their streaming numbers, or at least never have to sip warm beer in a dingy green room ever again.

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