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Filipino lawmaker criticises SG for Taylor Swift exclusivity deal

Filipino lawmaker criticises SG for Taylor Swift exclusivity deal

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Filipino lawmaker representative Joey Salceda has reportedly criticised Singapore over its exclusivity deal with global pop star Taylor Swift that would ensure that she would only stop in Singapore and no other South-east Asia countries on her ongoing Eras Tour.

Salceda asked the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to formally protest this grant that Singapore gave to Swift saying that this is not what "good neighbors" do, according to The Straits Times. He added that the move was detrimental to its diplomatic relations with Manila as Singapore and the Phillipines are "good friends"

Don't miss: Grab launches new Taylor Swift concert initiatives ahead of SG shows

He also told DFA that it should ask Singapore to give an explanation regarding the deal.

This comes shortly after Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin reportedly said at the iBusiness Forum that concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group said that the Singapore government offered subsidies of up to US$3 million for each concert.

He also reportedly said that this subsidy was contingent on Swift agreeing not to perform anywhere else in South-east Asia during her iconic Eras tour, according to The Straits Times

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) were quick to respond to the claims and issued a joint statement reportedly saying that tourism sectors such as hospitality, retail, travel and dining are likely to benefit from the event just like in other cities the star has previously performed in. 

It reportedly added that over 300,000 tickets were sold for the concerts in Singapore and that many fans would be travelling in from out of the country to see the shows, according to The Straits Times

It added that Singapore has a lot to offer as a destination for large-scale international events and cited its strategic location, quality infrastructure, safety, efficiency and diverse cultural offerings.

Industry professionals MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to at the time also said that at the end of the day, concerts are simply a business.

An effective strategy

"It drives revenues for Singapore, creates jobs and brings tourists to our shores," said Kevin Kan, chief experience officer at Break Out Consulting Asia at the time. "It allows more people to experience Singapore’s developments and attractions such as Jewel or Marina Bay Sands or Gardens by the Bay. It’s an opportunity to showcase Singapore and put it on the world stage punching above its weight," he explained with regards to Singapore's strategy surrounding the Taylor Swift concert. 

He added that as a business, if you can secure exclusivity, why would you not? "Many businesses have exclusivity contracts so why not for Taylor Swift concerts? If grants are given to artists, there has to be some level of return on investment," he added, saying that this ROI could be in the form of exclusivity.

Kan added:

Politics has a negligible impact on attending concerts. Especially for Gen Zs where instant gratification drives spending.

"Who in their right mind is not going to want to attend the phenomenon that has fueled the “Swiftie” movement?" said Kan. "For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. We have often seen artists bring their future world tours to countries where they have never been before. So, this might be the only time we see the “Swiftie” movement for a few decades."

Adding to his point, Jose Raymond, managing director at SW Strategies, said at the time that concerts and major events such as sporting events and exhibitions or conferences are driving forces towards tourism and economic recovery, necessary for trickle down impact. He said:

Concerts are a magnet for people and spending. The economic impact is substantial and the buzz is palpable.

He explained that for fans, it is immaterial where concerts are held. "We will go where our artistes perform if they are around our neighborhood, or even outside of their area," said Raymond.

So, by having exclusive rights to concerts in the region, tourists will flock into Singapore from around the region, as evidenced by so many of the concerts Singapore has been holding and the inbound of travellers, explained Raymond. 

True enough, countries around the region have been looking to draw mega stars and events to draw bigger crowds. Recently, the country saw footballer Lionel Messi in Hong Kong, a visit that triggered much controversy after he did not play at the organised match. 

Fans expressed their anger and asked for refund after they paid HK$4,880 to watch the Argentina football star stay rooted at the bench throughout the friendly match between Inter Miami and the Hong Kong team on 4 February 2024.

Tatler Asia, the organiser of the friendly match, issued an apology on 6 February 2024, addressing the disappointment of football fans regarding the absence of Messi from Inter Miami's friendly fixture in Hong Kong. Three days later, Tatler announced a 50% refund for customers who had purchased match-day tickets through official channels.

The city's leader, John Lee, also recently came out to say that Hong Kong will continue to strive to attract mega events to come to Hong Kong while ensuring that the allocation of public funding for organising such activities is used appropriately.

Join us this coming 24 - 25 April for #Content360, a two-day extravaganza centered around four core thematic pillars: Explore with AI; Insight-powered strategies; Content as an experience; and Embrace the future. Immerse yourself in learning to curate content with creativity, critical thinking, and confidence with us at Content360!

Related articles:
Study: 42% of Taylor Swift fans in SG are Gen Z
The enduring relatability of Taylor Swift: What brands can learn from the superstar
Carousell swiftly suspends Taylor Swift concert ticket sales to deter scalpers

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