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Taylor Swift’s deal to not play neighbouring countries “not unfriendly”, says Singapore prime minister

Singapore’s deal to ensure Taylor Swift doesn’t perform anywhere else in Southeast Asia as part of her current ‘Eras Tour’ is “not unfriendly”, according to the city-state’s prime minister.

The ‘Midnights’ pop star has already played three of her six sold-out concerts at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium, with the remaining trio of dates scheduled for this week (March 7, 8, 9).

  • READ MORE: Taylor Swift live in New Jersey: a glittering celebration of every era

It was reported last month that Singapore had struck a deal to prevent Swift from bringing her show to any other location within the Association Of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which comprises 10 countries.

Thai prime minister Srettha Thavisin claimed he was told that the Singapore government had offered $2million to $3million (£1.6million to £2.4million) per gig in exchange for exclusivity. However, the exact figure has not been disclosed.

“The Singapore government is astute,” Srettha said. “If she came to Thailand, it would have been cheaper to organise it here, and I believe she would be able to attract more sponsors and tourists to Thailand.”

He continued: “Even though we would have to subsidise at least 500m baht, it would be worth it. If I had known this, I would have brought the shows to Thailand. Concerts can generate added value for the economy.”

The exclusivity deal has since been criticised by a lawmaker in the Philippines. “[This] isn’t what good neighbours do,” said Joey Salceda, who asked the Philippines’ Department Of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to formally protest against the grant.

He added: “Our countries are good friends. That’s why actions like that hurt.”

Today (Tuesday March 5), Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said that an “arrangement” was agreed upon for Swift to make the state her only performance in the region (via Sky News).

“It has turned out to be a very successful arrangement, I don’t see that as being unfriendly,” the PM explained during a press conference in Melbourne, Australia where he is attending a regional summit.

Lee said that Swift had been given “certain incentives” from a government fund established to rebuild Singapore’s tourist industry post-COVID-19.

He continued: “Sometimes one country makes a deal, sometimes another country does. I don’t explicitly say, ‘You will come here only on condition that you’ll not go to other places’.

“If that’s what’s needed to be done to get an outcome which is mutually beneficial and which, from Singapore’s point of view, serves not just to grow the economy but also to bring in visitors and goodwill from all over the region, I don’t see why not.”

Lee added: “If we had not made such an arrangement, would she have come to someplace else in Southeast Asia or more places in Southeast Asia? Maybe, maybe not. These are things that she will decide.”

Last month, Singapore’s tourism board and culture ministry referred to the economic benefits brought by Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ performances around the globe due to her huge popularity.

In late 2023, the ‘Eras Tour’ made history by becoming the first tour to gross $1billion (£796million).

Following her Singapore shows, Swift will take her career-spanning ‘Eras Tour’ to Europe in May before visiting the UK and Ireland the following month. She’ll play eight shows at Wembley Stadium in London as part of the run, with support coming from Paramore.

Swift is set to release her 11th studio album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’, on April 19.

The pop star recently said that writing the record “was really a lifeline for [her]”, adding: “Just the things I was going through and the things I was writing about.”

“It kind of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through my life, and I never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on ‘Tortured Poets’,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Swift’s concert film The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) is scheduled to arrive on Disney+ on March 14.

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