Dubai Not So Big

Despite Live Nation and AEG placing their bets on Dubai with both companies setting up new Middle East divisions, a recent op-ed suggests that the Middle East has a long way to go before it can truly compete with established international touring markets.

The U.K.’s Sun reported that Madonna was working on a deal to make more than $24 million for playing two shows in Dubai – the first gig bringing in $15 million and the second private show netting no less than $10 million.

However, Arabian Business called claims of Madonna’s Dubai paycheck "as outrageous as they are extreme" and wrote that the U.K. reports, vehemently denied by Live Nation, could be harmful by encouraging other artists to demand huge sums for one-offs in the region.

The paper wrote that while the United Arab Emirates and Dubai in particular have become the Gulf Cooperation Council’s leading market for live events, it has a lack of large-scale concert halls.

"For all the grand overtures and media hype, Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s potential will remain hamstrung by this very fact," columnist Aaron Greenwood wrote.

The Bawadi project, Dubai’s version of the Las Vegas strip, is seen as the solution to the problem with the possibility of extended residencies by international artists.

The article points out that it’s not that easy as few artists are willing to do such residencies and it will still be a challenge to lure artists to the region who "aren’t simply looking to hit paydirt."