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The annual guide to the global live entertainment ticketing business
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Like many Asian markets, Covid-19 hit Singapore hard and saw some of the most stringent, long-lasting restrictions (not to mention the repeated tightening and loosening of the rules). As a result, many small- to mid-size venues and entertainment spaces closed down.
But things are now, finally, back to normal – and the live entertainment market’s prognosis is decidedly sunny. “There is huge demand from fans to see their favourite artists, and it’s fantastic to see large-scale events thriving again in Asia, particularly Singapore,” says Shawn Quek, general manager of Ticketmaster Singapore.
“The latest string of global superstars, like Coldplay and Taylor Swift, who choose to play here proves that Singapore is a must-stop city on the global touring map.”
“The latest string of global superstars, like Coldplay and Taylor Swift, who choose to play here proves that Singapore is a must-stop city on the global touring map.” Steven Woodward of Midas Promotions concurs. “Singapore continues to be a major stop-off for all international artists and hence receives a very varied mix of music genres,” he says. “Most concerts are well-supported regardless of whether they are of Asian or Western content.”
SISTIC, a B2C and B2B ticketing service provider, is still the incumbent but, says Woodward, “the ticketing dynamics are changing. SISTIC is being seriously challenged.” This is happening on two fronts: in the B2C market by Ticketek and by Ticketmaster and by Total Ticketing in the B2B market. Other ticketing companies include GlobalTix, Ticketflap, and Ticketek Singapore – the latter is one of three ticketing companies able to sell tickets at key venue Singapore Indoor Stadium (the others being Ticketmaster and SISTIC).
Distribution of sales
E-commerce is the norm in Singapore and ticketing is no different. “90% of tickets are print-at-home, with the remaining 10% being physical,” says Quek. Woodward agrees. “The majority of tickets are booked online directly through ticketing companies’ websites, with a small number via the ticketing app,” he says. There are also offers of ‘buy now, pay later’– Ticketmaster has partnered with Atome, and SISTIC with Pace Enterprise – providing more flexibility for fans to attend more events.
“The majority of tickets are booked online directly through ticketing companies’ websites, with a small number via the ticketing app.”
Resale for profit remains something of a murky subject – technically, it is not illegal, despite many in the industry wishing it was. “In Singapore, it is not illegal to resell tickets regardless of what is actually printed under the terms and conditions,” says Woodward. But the practice remains “a perennial problem.”
Quek says: “There is an issue with illegitimate ticket resale in the market.” Singapore saw a rise in concert ticket scams in 2023, with officials revealing that citizens have lost SGD518,000 between 1 January and 10 July – up from the former nadir of SGD84,000 in 2018. Companies like Ticketek are moving to in-app ticket delivery to counter the reselling of tickets. Other secondary platforms are Viagogo, StubHub, and Carousell.
International/domestic splits & genres
Singapore might have a very small domestic market, but that’s home to a strong and active punk, metal, and rock scene (many of these acts only tour domestically). Western artists tend to dominate the big shows and festivals, but Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian artists, concerts, and events are also significant and hugely popular.
“Depending on the artist, we see between 10-40% of fans travelling to Singapore for events.”
Cultural analysis The recovery of the Singapore market isn’t just attracting local fans – for the right event, they are coming from much further afield. “Depending on the artist, we see between 10-40% of fans travelling to Singapore for events,” says Quek. “And while a high percentage of these fans are from Southeast Asia, we do also see people coming from all around the world.” With that in mind, Ticketflap offers many language options including English, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chines