‘Sour Grapes’: Singapore’s Neighbors Aren’t Too Happy About This Exclusive Taylor Swift Deal

Singapore’s success in locking Taylor Swift has made neighboring countries a little envious.

The singer played six sold-out nights in the city-state last week, bringing in an estimated $260 million to $375 million in tourism receipts, according to the Washington Post. Fans across the region have long wondered why Swift only chose to play in Singapore. Until the city-state’s government revealed that they did make a deal with the concert’s promoters to make sure that Singapore was the only stop in SEA.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong addressed speculation about the size of the grant given to Swift, saying it was lower than rumored amounts but could not disclose specifics due to confidentiality reasons.

The controversy arose after Thai PM Srettha Thavisin claimed Singapore paid up to $3 million per show for Swift to not perform elsewhere in the region during her Eras tour. Channel News Asia reported the total grant was closer to $2-3 million for all six concerts.

Tong maintained the economic benefits from increased tourism, entertainment and retail spending outweigh the undisclosed grant size. Such concert tie-ups have boosted businesses like United Overseas Bank, which saw a 66% surge in credit card fees last year after offering pre-sale tickets to Swift and other acts.

However, the exclusivity deal has drawn criticism from neighboring countries. Filipino lawmaker Joey Salceda went as far as asking the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs to ask the Singaporean embassy to provide a formal explanation.

Salceda argues that the deal, which was made between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and promoters AEG Presents, was made “at the expense of neighboring countries, which could not attract their own foreign concertgoers and whose fans had to go to Singapore.”

“A deal was reached. And so it has turned out to be a very successful arrangement. I don’t see that as being unfriendly,” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at an Asian summit in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore’s former foreign affairs permanent secretary was a little less diplomatic, dismissing the Thai PM and Filipino lawmaker’s reactions as “sour grapes.”

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Information for this story was found via the Washington Post, Philippine Star, NPR, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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