Saudi Arabia has more than 33 million potential music consumers that are pushing for investments in leisure and entertainment. It seems that the government has listened and taken bold steps to invest in the entertainment and leisure industry.
In December 2018, there was a major concert in Dubai that attracted international artists like Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta and the Black Eyed Peas. A few years ago, this was unthinkable in the Islamic country, where there was gender segregation against women and where concerts were illegal for more than 25 years.
No More Segregation and Headscarves
Some months before the concert, the ruling family had reversed some legal restrictions on social activities, such as allowing women to attend entertainment events like concerts. They also relaxed the requirements to wear headscarves to any social event. This saw more than 25,000 men and women throng the three-day festival in Riyadh without donning any headscarves.
This concert was just a pre-amble since the kingdom planned to out-do itself in December 2019 by hosting a three-day electronic music festival with more than seventy acts that included Martin Garrix, Guetta and Tiesto. This event went down in history, the largest live music event ever held in Saudi Arabia.
From Last to First
The country has initiated aggressive measures to modernize. The government has even gone as far as organizing government-subsidized events that pay artists twice or thrice their regular fees. Artists are paid more than twice the amount offered by neighboring countries like Dubai. Initially, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar were the dominant players in the region’s concert map, but Saudi Arabia has overtaken them.
Saudi Arabia boasts of a population of 33 million and 30% of Saudi Arabians are below 30 years. With such a young population and the initiatives the government is taking, it was inevitable that Saudi Arabia would overtake other countries like Dubai, which placed the Middle East on the touring map close to two decades ago.