Navigating the Boundaries of Global Anti-Competitive Practices: The Case of Taylor Swift’s ASEAN Concert Exclusivity



In a surprising revelation that has sparked widespread discussion among fans, promoters, and legal experts alike, Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin disclosed that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), a major concert promoter, has entered into an agreement with global pop superstar Taylor Swift. This agreement purportedly restricts Swift’s performances to Singapore exclusively within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. This situation provides a unique lens through which to examine the principles of anti-competitive practices on a global scale, especially in the context of entertainment and contractual agreements between artists, promoters, and host countries.

The Agreement: An Overview

According to Prime Minister Thavisin, AEG has been informed that Swift’s agreement limits her ASEAN region concerts to Singapore, precluding potential performances in other ASEAN countries, including Thailand. This move has not only disappointed Swift’s fans across Southeast Asia but has also raised questions about the nature of such exclusivity agreements and their implications on competition within the entertainment industry.

Global Anti-Competitive Principles

At its core, anti-competitive behaviour refers to actions that prevent or reduce competition in a market. These actions can range from monopolistic practices to collusion and exclusive agreements that unfairly limit consumer choices or set barriers to entry for other competitors. Globally, anti-competitive practices are governed by a variety of laws and regulations, which can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. However, the underlying principle remains the same: to ensure fair competition and prevent monopolies or oligopolies that can harm consumers and the economy.

Application to the Entertainment Industry

In the entertainment industry, exclusivity agreements are not uncommon. Artists, promoters, and venues often enter into contracts that limit performances to certain areas, times, or conditions to maximize profits, manage schedules, and control the brand. However, when such agreements cross the line into preventing competition or limiting consumer access to entertainment, they can potentially be viewed as anti-competitive.

The Singapore Exclusivity: An Anti-Competitive Practice?

The case of Taylor Swift’s agreement to perform exclusively in Singapore within the ASEAN region raises several questions regarding its nature as an anti-competitive practice. First, it is crucial to determine the intent and effect of this agreement:


  1. Market Power and Competition: Does this exclusivity agreement leverage market power in a way that significantly prevents other ASEAN countries from hosting similar large-scale events, thereby reducing competition?
  2. Consumer Choice: Is consumer choice unfairly restricted, given that fans in other ASEAN countries are unable to attend Swift’s concerts within their region unless they travel to Singapore?
  3. Regulatory Scrutiny: Would this agreement withstand scrutiny under the respective anti-competitive laws of ASEAN countries or under broader international trade and competition policies?


It should be noted that the ASEAN Competition Action Plan (ACAP) 2025 is a roadmap for developing regional guidelines on competition policy, but it’s more about cooperation and capacity building than enforcing uniform laws across member countries.

Potential Justifications

On the flip side, several factors could justify the exclusivity agreement from a business perspective:

  1. Logistical and Operational Constraints: Limiting the tour to specific locations can be a strategic decision based on logistical, financial, and operational considerations.
  2. Market Demand and Strategic Positioning: Singapore might have been chosen due to its strategic location, infrastructure, and market demand, which are critical for the success of high-profile concerts.


The case of Taylor Swift’s exclusive concert agreement in Singapore presents a complex scenario that intersects with global principles of anti-competitive practices. While the intent behind such agreements is often rooted in legitimate business considerations, their implications on competition, consumer choice, and market access cannot be overlooked. It is imperative for regulators, industry stakeholders, and legal professionals to scrutinize these agreements within the context of local and international laws to ensure they do not unfairly hinder competition or disadvantage consumers. As the global entertainment industry continues to evolve, striking a balance between business interests and fair competition will remain a challenging yet essential endeavor.