Lessons from Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ deal with Singapore | Inquirer Business

Lessons from Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ deal with Singapore

/ 02:04 AM March 15, 2024

Taylor Swift performing in Sydney on Feb. 23

POP SENSATION Taylor Swift performing in Sydney on Feb. 23 as part of her World “Eras Tour.” —AFP

Thank you, readers, for the comments and messages about my article “Decoding concert economics: Taylor Swift World ‘Eras Tour.’” I received more questions to answer. Let me share some data from the perspective of Singapore.

Thailand has been the region’s tourism leader since 2015, surpassing Malaysia. It is followed by Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.


Vietnam’s tourism has experienced the most significant percentage growth between 2011 and 2019. Based on pre-COVID data, Vietnam’s growth rate was three times higher compared with most neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. It was close to overtaking Singapore for the third spot before the pandemic.


Singapore’s number of foreign tourists doubled in 2023 compared with the previous year. However, the number of international visitors declined month after month between August and November 2023.

READ: Decoding concert economics: Taylor Swift World ‘Eras Tour’

By the end of the year, it reached only 71 percent of the 2019 level. Vietnam overtook Singapore in the number of foreign tourist arrivals in December 2023, with a higher recovery rate of 80 percent versus prepandemic level. Singapore almost tied with the Philippines for the lowest recovery rate at around 72 percent prepandemic.

If we analyze Singapore as an institution, its tourism market share and foreign tourist arrivals decreased in recent months. It has been affected by the increasing attractiveness of other countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

Additionally, its prices are much higher than competitors. Its nightlife is subdued but orderly, and it has very few natural attractions due to its smaller size.

Singaporeans are generally more polite and formal compared with their warm and informal neighbors. What could Singapore do? Who should they attract as a target market to reverse course and regain momentum in inbound tourism?


One turnaround strategy is to look beyond traditional strengths—offer something that is immediately doable. This can be achieved by promoting specific tourism segments, such as musical events where attendees are large and loyal to their pop icons like Taylor Swift, and will spend money while being attracted to Singapore’s wholesome nightlife.

READTaylor Swift’s Eras Tour allegedly omits PH, other regions after closing exclusive deal with SG

After all, the last time Taylor Swift performed in Southeast Asia was a decade ago.

Trends in tourism suggest a resurgence in interest in attending shows and events abroad after the pandemic due to pent-up demand. Combining cultural and entertainment goals as travel objectives to create more meaningful and memorable experiences, with attending shows abroad as a highlight of travel itineraries, is becoming more common.

Strategic investment

To justify the business case of a grant (as what was given by Singapore to Eras Tour organizer), we can use the trio sequence of desirability, feasibility and viability framework.

1) Taylor Swift is extremely desirable. As a pop icon, her pulling power has been proven in many prior concerts of the Eras Tour before Singapore. Even her resilience to past disappointments inspires the youth.

2) In terms of feasibility, Singapore has existing large venues, higher purchasing power of consumers, a disciplined and organized government capable of securing concert stakeholders, and is the least corrupt country in Southeast Asia.

3) In terms of viability, offering a grant will make performing in Singapore easier to decide for the performers and the organizers. The grant, as a strategic investment, is much cheaper than paying the entire professional fee of a pop icon like Taylor Swift for the organizer.

With no less than Singaporean Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong personally flying to offer and negotiate the deal and assuring the organizers that there would be no barriers and show stoppers, one can imagine things falling into place in no time at all.

Based on the trio criteria of desirability, feasibility and viability, how many countries in Southeast Asia can actually match Singapore even if they also offer a grant as a value proposition?

In analyzing a business model, the value proposition can only materialize when the value architecture—composed of the value chain, key processes and key resources—is in place to deliver the value proposition. It is not as easy as offering a grant!

Connecting the dots

To mitigate government risks, economic data on sales lift in many cities where Taylor Swift performed have been published for anyone to read, gain insights from and create actionable strategies. Singapore was able to connect the dots earlier than its competitors.

So long as the grant amount is lower than the expected gain in tourism, taxes, economy and culture, the business model should be viable. Assuming half of the 330,000 concertgoers are from other countries—not a remote possibility—the number of inbound tourists to Singapore is expected to represent double-digit incremental growth in March 2024 alone.

From the perspective of the organizers, securing a deal with a credible government mitigates several risks. Alignment risk is practically eliminated, with the government fully backing the concert series as a key complementor. Imagine having a direct line with the minister himself.

Moreover, the grant shows that the government would ensure success in attracting tourists for future events. Operational risk is likewise minimized as established infrastructure ensures smooth execution.

A master strategist needs five critical skills: sensemaking, innovating, discovering, influencing and executing.

The Taylor Swift concert economics showed us some significant lessons.

If traditional markets can’t be relied upon, explore new market segments while creating offerings that resonate with these new audiences.

Assess the potential success of new initiatives. In this case, Taylor Swift’s popularity adds to the desirability, while Singapore’s infrastructure and government support contribute to feasibility and viability. The latter will be influenced by how government can help mitigate risks associated with large-scale events.

Government should be willing to reconfigure existing approaches and align with changing market dynamics.

Trust is an economic driver. Trust increases speed of doing business.

Opportunities abound for those who can identify the problem, make sense of the situation and develop strategies and innovations. This confers a head start in gaining a competitive edge.

Budgeting becomes more efficient when a single budget can move the needle in various areas, including tourism, economics, taxes and culture image, creating a cluster of interconnected benefits and opportunities for overall growth and development.

Countries must weigh the trade-offs between commercial gains and diplomatic relations when deciding on hosting exclusive events. Every decision entails trade-off!

5 critical skills

Exclusivity warrants reconsideration. The fact that 22 million people applied for 330,000 Taylor Swift tickets in Singapore indicates that a regional initiative to promote tourism and cultural exchange collectively is feasible.

By collaborating with parties not seen as threats, resources can be pooled, expertise shared, and collective strengths leveraged to showcase the diversity of the region.

For example, while Singapore may lack the motivation to collaborate with tourism leaders like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam due to their proximity, could the Philippines—with its large population, vast natural resources and English proficiency, among other features—capitalize on this opportunity as a back-to-back destination with Singapore? (Hint! Hint!)

To effectively strategize and execute like Singapore’s Taylor Swift concert economics, research has shown that a master strategist needs five critical interconnected skills:

Sensemaking to give meaning to data, make sense of complex situations, understand market trends and identify opportunities and threats in the industry

Innovating to create unique and compelling experiences and offerings to attract customers and sustain competitive advantage

Discovering to gain new insights, identify untapped opportunities and recognize emerging trends to envision new possibilities within the industry

Influencing to build partnerships, gain support from stakeholders, persuade key decision-makers and shape perceptions

Executing to translate strategies and ideas into action, efficiently implementing initiatives and achieving desired outcomes

Skills come before strategies! —Contributed

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist at Mansmith and Fielders Inc., and author of the 5 Skills Framework. The 15th annual Mansmith Market Master Conference on May 8, featuring 15 CEO Thought Leaders, is now open for registration via www.marketmastersconference.com

TAGS: 'Eras Tour', concert, lessons, Singapore

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.