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SINGAPORE: Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour is history’s best-selling concert tour to date—the first to earn over US$1 billion (S$1.33 billion) in revenues.

The superstar, along with other big-ticket acts such as Coldplay and the Broadway musical Hamilton, is helping to reverse Singapore’s reputation as a somewhat boring Asian capital, but this may be coming at the expense of Singapore’s local artists, an opinion writer for Bloomberg has pointed out.

“Taylor Swift Is Helping Singapore Ditch Its Dull Reputation,” reads the piece’s title, which is also published elsewhere as “Does Singapore finally have global cool? Ask Taylor Swift.”

In it, columnist Karishma Vaswani pointed out that it was only a few years ago when Singapore “was voted one of the least exciting cities in the world in a Time Out City Life Index, and pronounced the worst rated for culture.”

But the recent influx of top musical acts has put a dent into that.

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“It makes us look like a modern, open-minded and vibrant place. It’s creating an image that is inviting to entertainment acts from all over the world, resonating with people of all walks of life,” associate professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences Lau Kong Cheen told Ms Vaswani.

Indeed, the government’s endeavour to brand Singapore as the “Events and Entertainment Capital of Asia,” which began in the 2000s, appears to bear fruit.

“This strategy is part of wider economic development agency attempts to diversify Singapore’s brand beyond its well-established reputation as a leading business destination.

The city wants to capture the attention of global tourism markets by redefining itself as a vibrant cultural hub with an events and entertainment offering to rival some of the world’s most attractive cities,” the Singapore Tourism board has said.

The problem is that some local artists appear to feel that they are getting left out, and Ms Vaswani’s piece quotes musician and producer Vijay Singh, popularly known as Swtlkr, as having told her:

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“While we may have progressed on bringing in a lot of commercial artists, what is sorely missing is the support that develops culture. What’s happening now doesn’t benefit local artists or musicians.”

Meanwhile, in the US, the pop superstar’s legions of fans have reportedly spent around US$93 million per show (S$124 million) on tickets, merchandise, travel, hotels, food, and outfits inspired by Swift herself.

And while the concerts are yet to take place in Singapore in March, a tie-up with UOB has meant good news for the bank, which recorded an increase of 89 per cent—S$104 million— in credit card fees in the quarter when the concert tickets were sold.

And who knows what Singapore’s hospitality industry and others are set to earn during the six nights of concerts? /TISG

Read also: Top musical acts from Coldplay to Taylor Swift in Singapore are part of government’s effort to make SG the ‘Events & Entertainment Capital of Asia’