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US singer Taylor Swift performs on stage during a concert as part of her Eras World Tour in Sydney.--AFP photos
US singer Taylor Swift performs on stage during a concert as part of her Eras World Tour in Sydney.--AFP photos
Singapore says Taylor Swift gig grant not as high as speculated

Singapore said Monday its grant to Taylor Swift for her concerts in the city was nowhere near as high as speculated, following media reports that the superstar was offered millions of dollars per gig. Around 300,000 people from Singapore and around the region are expected to attend the six sold-out shows that began March 2 -- but some neighbours were not happy about being left off The Eras Tour. Some, including reportedly the Thai prime minister, have said that Swift was paid millions to keep her from performing anywhere else in the region.

“There has been some online speculation as to the size of the grant. I can say that it is not accurate and not anywhere as high as speculated,” Singapore’s culture minister Edwin Tong told parliament. “Due to business confidentiality reasons, we cannot reveal the specific size of the grant or the conditions of the grant.” Tong added that the “economic benefits to Singapore are assessed to be significant and outweigh the size of the grant”.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had reportedly said, citing a concert promoter, that Singapore offered Swift up to US$3 million per concert if she did not play anywhere else in Southeast Asia. A lawmaker in the Philippines also criticized Singapore, reportedly saying this was not “what good neighbors do”.

Tong played down the role the grant may have played in convincing Swift to perform only in Singapore. “Promoters of top artists will do their own calculation and assess where they want to perform and for how long,” he said, citing Singapore’s location and infrastructure as key factors. Since the end of pandemic curbs, a number of top artists have performed in Singapore, including Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Blackpink and Harry Styles. — AFP

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