Millions vie for tickets to Taylor Swift's only stop in Southeast Asia

By Reuters   July 7, 2023 | 06:09 pm PT
Millions vie for tickets to Taylor Swift's only stop in Southeast Asia
People queue overnight at a community center basketball court for Taylor Swift concert tickets, outside a post office in Singapore, Singapore, July 6, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su
After standing in line for 36 hours, Qayyum Lukman on Friday emerged triumphant from a kiosk where he had just scored tickets to see pop sensation Taylor Swift perform in Singapore, her only stop in Southeast Asia next year.

When Swift brings her acclaimed "Eras Tour" to Singapore next March, Lukman will be one of the 300,000 fans - called "Swifties" - in the audience for one of the six shows in the city state.

"I feel great, I’m stressed out, oh my God, I’m just overwhelmed! I don’t know what to think, indescribable, I’m very happy I got tickets! Yeah, woohoo!," said Lukman.

But many "Swifties" across the region of more than half a billion, couldn't get a ticket, partly as a result of a post-pandemic spike in demand for concerts and entertainment. The demand has led to rising prices that some economists have termed "Swiftflation".

Holders of UOB bank credit cards were given preferred access, prompting a 45% surge in daily credit card applications in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam the week Swift announced her concert dates, according to media.

Indonesian Friski Riana, 31, joined virtual queues of millions of fans, even borrowing her friend's credit card to try and get tickets.

"I waited for three hours but I failed to get a ticket," Friski said.

Hours after the pre-sale closed, touts were marking up S$358 ($264.73) tickets to at least S$1,000 on marketplace app Carousell.

Last month, British band Coldplay saw similar "overwhelming demand" according to LiveNation Singapore, and added an extra three nights in Singapore despite playing a night each in Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila and Kuala Lumpur in the coming months.

Amid the ticket frenzy for Swift this week, Singapore's central bank was even asked if concerts like hers would add to inflation woes, while the Business Times reported a spike in prices for flights and hotels the week "Taytay" performs on the island.

Showing his "Swiftie" credentials, Thailand's leading candidate for prime minister Pita Limjareonrat asked the singer to swing by Bangkok, where she had cancelled a performance in 2014 due to a coup.

"Do come and I'll be singing Lavender Haze with you!" he said on Twitter, referring to a track from an album released earlier this year.

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