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Singapore sought exclusivity deal over Taylor Swift concerts in south-east Asia, Thai PM alleges

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Thailand’s prime minister has claimed that Singapore sought a deal with Taylor Swift to prevent her from playing elsewhere in south-east Asia on her Eras tour.

Srettha Thavisin said the concert promoter AEG had informed him that the Singaporean government offered subsidies of US $2m-$3m (£1.6m-£24m) a show as part of an exclusivity agreement.

Swift is playing six sold-out shows at the 55,000-seat National Stadium in Singapore in March.

[AEG] didn’t tell me the exact figure but they said the Singapore government offers subsidies of between $2m and $3m,” Srettha said publicly at a business forum in Bangkok. “But the Singaporean government is clever. They told [organisers] not to hold any other shows in [south-east] Asia.”

AEG and the Singapore government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Swift’s fans across south-east Asia were bitterly disappointed when it was announced last year that she would skip most of the region and stop only in Singapore during her Eras tour. Even for those with the means to travel to see her, securing tickets was difficult; many fans enlisted family members and friends to register on their behalf and waited for hours in online queues.

In addition to Singapore, Japan and Australia are also included in the tour. Those lucky enough to have secured a ticket for Singapore have planned long and expensive journeys – in some cases involving boat, bus and plane – to see her. South-east Asia is home to many loyal Swift fans, with Quezon City in the Philippines once listed by Spotify as being home to the fifth-biggest number of her listeners in a ranking of global cities.

The Singapore concerts are expected to bring a major boost to the tourism sector, and Swift’s visit has been celebrated by officials. The minister for community, culture and youth, Edwin Tong, said when the tour dates were announced that it was an example of the calibre of events Singapore was targeting “to augment our offerings to Singaporeans and tourists alike”.

Elsewhere in south-east Asia, fans have previously blamed factors ranging from poor infrastructure to political instability and attitudes among conservative Muslim groups for the lack of tour dates.

Many Thai Swifties recall how the singer had to cancel her 2014 concert in Bangkok after the military coup by the former prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. In Malaysia, there are fears that it could become harder for foreign artists to perform, after an outcry over a same-sex kiss between members of the 1975 at a concert in July.

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