Singapore Paid Taylor Swift for Exclusive Concerts, and Its Neighbors Aren’t Happy

Taylor Swift has caused some bad blood in Southeast Asia.

In the region, the singer is bringing her Eras Tour to only Singapore—a perk for which the country paid—and neighboring nations aren’t happy about it, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Both Thailand and the Philippines have expressed discontent that Swift won’t be going there. And while fans can travel to Singapore to see the show, they’re bummed about the lack of local concerts.

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“I sometimes think ‘When will I get to experience this?’” Sherin Nya Tamara, a Swiftie in Jakarta, Indonesia, told the Times. “I was hoping there would be additional dates and that Jakarta would be included, but nope.”

In the entertainment world, so-called radius clauses are common, meaning that concerts are restricted to a certain locale. But Susan Abramovitch, the head of entertainment and sports law at the firm Gowling WLG, said they typically cover hundreds of miles, rather than entire neighboring countries. While Singapore has declined to share how much it paid for the exclusive rights to the Eras Tour, the prime minister of Thailand said publicly that Singapore had shelled out up to $3 million per show. (Swift is playing six sold-out shows in the country.) However, Singapore’s culture minister said the total was “nowhere as high.”

When The New York Times reached out to the Singaporean government, it would not say how much it had paid Swift, but a joint statement from the Tourism Board and the culture ministry noted that the concerts would largely benefit the country’s economy. And on Tuesday, at a conference in Australia, Singapore’s prime minister said he didn’t see the exclusivity clause as “unfriendly” toward other nations.

But those in neighboring Southeast Asian countries feel differently, especially as they’ll miss out on that same boost to the local economy. Joey Salceda, a lawmaker in the Philippines, publicly called out Singapore for restricting Swift’s ability to perform in the region, and he reiterated his feelings in an interview with the Times.

“ASEAN’s core principles are solidarity and consensus,” Salceda said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “What happened? They even used their tourism board to block other nations.”

While Swift is liable to make headlines, it’s likely that she didn’t foresee her record-breaking tour causing international tensions.

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