Taylor Swift Causes Stir at ASEAN Political Summit

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.05 - 2024 11:40 AM CET

Photo: Brian Friedman / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Brian Friedman / Shutterstock.com
Taylor Swift's exclusive concert deal with Singapore became a hot topic at a Southeast Asian political summit, overshadowing more serious discussions.

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At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which was meant to address serious issues like Myanmar's crisis and South China Sea conflicts, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong found himself explaining a unique agreement.

Singapore's Exclusive Swift Deal

Singapore managed to secure Taylor Swift for six concerts, making it her only stop in Southeast Asia for the Eras Tour. This arrangement has led to disappointment among neighboring countries, missing out on the economic benefits Swift's concerts could bring.

Taylor Swift's Eras Tour has been immensely successful, breaking records by reportedly earning over $1 billion last year. Additionally, the tour's movie adaptation soared to the top of the box office, becoming the most successful concert film ever.

On Tuesday, the leader of Singapore confirmed that Taylor Swift received "certain incentives" to make Singapore the exclusive Southeast Asian stop on her Eras Tour. Lee defended this arrangement during a news conference alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who openly admits to being a big fan of Swift.

Lee chose not to disclose the cost of the special agreement, which was financed by a government fund aimed at reviving tourism after COVID-19. When questioned about any tension with fellow leaders over the arrangement, he hinted that if Singapore hadn't secured the deal, another country in the region might have.

"This has been a very successful arrangement. I don't view it as unfriendly," Lee stated.

Regional Reactions to the Deal

Thailand's Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, brought attention to the agreement in February, revealing he was informed that the Singapore government had supported the concert on the condition Swift wouldn't perform elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Srettha mentioned he could have managed a similar deal had he been aware of it beforehand.

However, Thailand harbors no resentment towards Singapore, according to Prommin Lertsuridej, the Secretary-General to the Prime Minister.

In a recent interview, Prommin expressed admiration for Singapore's initiative, noting that Thailand is inspired to streamline processes to become a more appealing location for global events based on Singapore's example.

"We learn from each other," Prommin noted, commending Singapore for their "good business idea."

Lee also mentioned that he wasn't familiar with Australia's specific arrangements. He anticipated they had made similar "mutually acceptable, sensible arrangements" with Swift for her performances in Melbourne and Sydney, one of which was attended by the Australian prime minister, before her visit to Singapore.

There was no immediate response from Swift’s representative.

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