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Singapore prime minister defends exclusive deal with Taylor Swift that riles some neighbors

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Singapore prime minister defends exclusive deal with Taylor Swift that riles some neighbors
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has defended an exclusive deal his city-state struck with Taylor Swift that prevents the pop star taking her current Eras Tour to anywhere else in Southeast Asia

ByROD MCGUIRK Associated Press
March 5, 2024, 4:03 AM

1:12
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MELBOURNE, Australia — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was called on during a key regional summit on Tuesday to defend an exclusive deal his city-state struck with Taylor Swift that prevents the pop star taking her current Eras Tour to anywhere else in Southeast Asia.

Swift is performing six concerts from March 2 to 9 in Singapore under an exclusive deal that has been criticized by some Southeast Asian neighbors who complain they have been deprived of the tourist boom that her concerts have brought elsewhere.

In a sign of the international phenomenon that Swift has become, the veteran Singaporean statesman was asked by a journalist to confirm the deal and to comment on whether it undermined the spirit of cooperation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation bloc known by the acronym ASEAN of which Singapore is a key member.

Lee was at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a 60-year-old self-professed Swiftie who has revealed that Swift took second place in his 2023 Spotify Wrapped list after her fellow U.S. diva Lana Del Ray. The wrap is the steaming giant’s annual feature that tallies the songs a listener has played the most over the past year.

Albanese is hosting the ASEAN summit in the Australian city of Melbourne that marks 50 years since Australia became the bloc’s first external partner.

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