The debate has heated up after Singapore's prime minister said the Taylor Swift deal was not 'unfriendly'.

Singapore is defending an agreement that ensured Taylor Swift would not perform in neighboring countries.

Ashok Kumar/tas24 | Getty Images Entertainment | Good pictures

  • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed on Tuesday that Taylor Swift's closed-door deal to perform in the city-state meant she would not perform in other Southeast Asian countries during her Eras tour.
  • The statement is the first confirmation from the city-state that Swift's contract to perform in Singapore contains an exclusive clause barring her from performing in other countries.
  • „This is definitely a bold, smart strategic move for Singapore,” said Selina Oh, director of communications based in Singapore.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed on Tuesday that Taylor Swift's closed-door deal to perform in the city-state meant she would not perform in other Southeast Asian countries during her Eras tour.

„(Our) agencies are in talks to arrange for him to come to Singapore to perform and Singapore will be the only stop in Southeast Asia,” he told a press conference at the regional summit in Melbourne. According to Reuters.

The statement is the first confirmation from the city-state that Swift's contract to perform in Singapore contains an exclusive clause barring her from performing in other countries.

On Monday, Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong declined to answer the question twice during a parliamentary session.

He also did not disclose the size of the grant to Swift, but said the amount was „nowhere near as much as speculated.”

Subsidizing Swift's promoters has become a diplomatic thorn in Singapore's side, prompting criticism from its neighbors for brokering a deal that shut them out of the highest-grossing tour of all time.

Joey Salceda, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, said this was „not what good neighbors do” and, according to local media, such agreements are against ASEAN principles.

Lee disputed the characterization on Tuesday, saying, „It's become a very successful arrangement. I don't see it as unfriendly.”

Taylor Swift performs at Singapore's National Stadium on March 2, 2024. Swift's only stops in Asia are Singapore and Tokyo during her global eras tour.

Ashok Kumar/tas24 | Getty Images Entertainment | Good pictures

Swift's six concerts in Singapore are expected to inject between $260 million and $372 million into the island's economy, with 70% of concertgoers thought to come from overseas.

During her first three concerts in Singapore, Swift asked her audience to clap – first from locals, then from overseas. In each case, the applause of the passengers was very loud.

Average daily rates for hotels in Singapore rose from $256 to $400 this week, with bookings up 92% from travelers from Malaysia, 111% from Thailand and 189% from Indonesia, according to travel software company RateGain.

Swift's pre-Eras tour, her Fame Stadium Tour in 2018, included only one stop in Asia — Tokyo.

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But his previous tours – the Speak Now, Red and 1989 tours – included stops in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Singapore's deal has sparked debate over whether it was just a smart deal or greed.

„This is definitely a bold, smart strategic move for Singapore,” said Selina Oh, a Singapore-based communications director.

But others say the one-winner-take-all attitude is hurting regional tourism industries, which are still recovering from the pandemic, as well as fans who can't afford the steep travel fees to see Swift in person.

„A bit selfish, with only Singapore in mind and not the wider region. Clearly [Singapore authorities] Does not care much for others [than] They are,” said Christian de Boer, the hotel's managing director from Cambodia.

You have to do your calculations and find out what is in the best interests of Singapore and Singaporeans.”

Edwin Tong

Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Some liken the deal to how cities compete to host major sporting events like the Olympics, Super Bowl and World Cup.

„Did anyone protest when F1 decided to come to Singapore? Does anyone pretend there were no monetary or other material considerations?” Irene Ho, an editorial consultant based in Singapore, said.

Concerts — which see artists travel from city to city to reach their fans — have never been competitive.

But that could change as experience-led tours push concerts into money-making juggernauts, with fans willing to travel across continents to see their favorite artists.

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