Daily Archives: December 9, 2011

Barbados Government paid Rihanna £1.25 million for concert. Good value or outrageous?

Updated: December 9, 2011

Bajans were told Rihanna was performing “for free”

Thanks to an old friend for referring us back to an August 11, 2011 opinion piece in The Nation. Luigi Marshall – Kudos for making Rihanna show happen.

Mr. Marshall had very positive things to say about the Rihanna concert and we recommend that our readers have a look. One piece of info though: Mr. Marshall repeats the information given at the time that Rihanna was doing the show “for free”. According to the latest revelations, that might not have been true.

But whether Rihanna performed for free or not, as Nevermind Kurt says in his piece below, it is difficult to quantify the benefits from the Rihanna – Barbados association. Mr. Marshall falls into the trap of speculating what the numbers might have been. He pulls them right out of the air and then waves them around to illustrate how much money Bajans made because of the concert. Did 4,000 people arrive on the island just for the concert? I suppose they could have. How did they get here? They didn’t all fly into Grantley Adams in the two days prior to the concert, that’s for sure!

Could it be true that many or even most of the visitors who attended the concert were already here or planned to be here concert or not? I suppose that someone at the BTA has the ability to answer the questions about benefits and costs of the Rihanna concert. I wonder why the BTA hasn’t made a statement about that and backed it up with numbers?

The Daily Star is now repeating that Rihanna was paid for her concert and that she’ll be doing a New Year’s gig at Sandy Lane…

“The government paid Rihanna £1.25million to perform at Barbados Carnival in August as she is obviously their biggest export.

“Everyone is very excited to hear that she’ll be back again so soon and plenty of the islanders are hoping to catch a glimpse of her in town even if they can’t get into the party.”

… from The Daily Star’s Rihanna to sing for Simon Cowell

That’s  £1.25 million for Rihanna… PLUS everything else

by Nevermind Kurt

Music industry sources say that our government paid Bajan Sex Queen Rihanna £1.25 million to appear at her toned-down Kensington Oval concert last August. That’s about US$2.5 million dollars – or 5 million Bajan dollars – and it doesn’t count the venue expenses and everything else associated with the concert. The US$2.5 million dollars is just the pocket change for Rihanna and her entourage.

US$2.5 million dollars buys a whole lotta cutters and beer down at Marcia’s Place in Oistins!

But maybe US$2.5 million dollars was a good price for the Rihanna show. What do I know? So if we paid US$2.5 million of public funds to Rihanna, and the ticket sales were X number of tickets @ an average of X $ per bottom, maybe our overall cost wasn’t US$2.5 million. Or maybe not…

Did the Rihanna concert revenue go to repaying the government ‘investment’? Without Freedom of Information laws we taxpayers will never know.

The government is going to say that visitor numbers were up X% as a result of the Rihanna concert, but that’s not really verifiable with any certainty. I think that the Rihanna concert and long-term engagement by the Barbados Tourism Authority is totally unquantifiable when it comes to measuring the financial benefits to Barbados vs. the cost.

The real question I have is this…

How many people will travel to Barbados as a direct result of the US$2.5 million paid to Rihanna for a single concert in Barbados?

Real doubts about Rihanna’s value to the Barbados tourism brand

As I’ve said on BFP before, most advertising is geared to younger people not because they have disposable income, but to foster brand loyalty early on. If we’re trying to attract the hoards of screaming teenagers (primarily girls) that attend Rihanna’s concerts to be lifelong Barbados fans, then Rihanna’s name associated with Barbados tourism might yield some results in twenty years.

If, however, the BTA thinks that Rihanna’s name will yield more folks from the American midwest that the BTA said we were targeting last year, the results might be disappointing.

I have the impression that Rihanna’s fame is a hoped for opportunity on the part of the Barbados Tourism Authority that might not yield real benefits in terms of increased tourism revenue.

I’d love to be proven wrong. I’d love to see that whatever we’re paying Rihanna in tax dollars is returned ten-fold.

Prime Minister Stuart: Over to you. Show me.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Rihanna