Robbie Williams in Tallinn : The Taxpayer Comes Undone
|Is this what he thinks of the taxpayer? (Photo Credit)|
By all accounts, this was an excellent concert. Despite some back pain, Robbie put on a great performance, to an audience of more than 60,000 fans, in the historic Lauluväljak (Song Festival grounds). Even the weather was nice!
Candy from the TaxpayerSo why are we bellyaching about the concert? Because we as taxpayers paid for part of it. Let's have a look:
- 300,000 euros from Enterprise Estonia (EAS)
- 90,000 euros from the Tallinn city government (60,000 and 30,000)
Was it worth it? To start, let's make a few assumptions in favor of this. Let's assume Robbie Williams is a popular singer with people who would be potential tourists to Estonia. If a DVD were produced, would anyone buy it?
Advertising Space for Sale
|Official Robbie Williams Sun Visor - Popular among Swedbank employees|
Robbie Williams didn't end up with a net worth of $160 million just by selling a couple CDs. He knows how to sell and market everything Robbie. His online store has everything from the usual Official Robbie Williams t-shirts and Official Robbie Williams posters to Official Robbie Williams iPhone cases and Official Robbie Williams coffee mugs.
|Official Robbie Williams Dog Tags - Popular among troops in Iraq|
|Official Robbie Williams Skullcap - Popular among violent gangsters|
So as far as we can tell, if Robbie were to release a concert DVD, people would buy it. They might even pick up an Official Robbie Williams shot glass and Official Robbie Williams scented candle and make a drunken yet romantic evening out of it.
How We'd Do It - Making the Deal PureAgain, why are we bellyaching about this? Sounds like we have a popular singer, who's going to sell a lot of DVDs with great views of Estonia. Isn't that a good thing?
Actually, we think it may just work, but we don't think the taxpayer should pay the bill on this.
Here's our guess about how the conversation went at Robbie's record label (Universal):
Slimy Record Executive 1: "Hey boss, you're not gonna believe this. Remember our plans to make a DVD of Robbie's concert?"
Slimy Record Executive 2: "Sure. We were going to film one of the concerts, sell the DVD, and make millions from all his adoring fans. We'll make nearly as much money as we'll make from selling the Official Robbie Williams scented candle!"
Slimy Record Executive 1: "Yes. Well get this. Some Estonians called me and they want us to film it there. I checked out the place and it looks really nice. But here's the best part: they're going to pay us nearly 400,000 euros to make the DVD!"
Slimy Record Executive 2: "Get outta town! They're going to pay us to make a DVD we planned to make anyway? Do we have to give them a cut of the sales?"
Slimy Record Executive 1: "Nope! We keep all the revenues from the sale. We just have to includes a few scenes of Estonia, which we'd do anyway if we filmed it there."
Slimy Record Executive 2: "Wow! I have no idea why the Estonians agreed to that -- that's a sweet deal! Hey, I heard the Official Robbie Williams scented candle contained some hallucinogens. Perhaps the Estonians were sniffing those when they thought up this idea?"That's the thing. We think the DVD would have been made anyway. They have been selling live CDs from every concert he did on this tour, so surely they had plans to make a DVD to go along with it.
Would they have picked Tallinn anyway? We think they would have, based on the list of venues where the concert took place. Let's face it - Lauluväljak is unique and picturesque compared to places like the Veltins Area in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Perhaps it's risky to assume that they would pick Tallinn. Maybe the DVD producer has an ex-lover in Gothenburg so he'd prefer to spend a few days there.
There's an easy way to structure this deal to ensure it's filmed in Tallinn, while saving the taxpayer some money. They should have told Robbie's people that they'll pay the money up front, but then get 50% of the profits from the DVD, until all the taxpayer money is recouped. It's a good deal for both sides, as EAS takes the financial risk (making Universal more likely to agree), but also gets its money back if the DVD sells well.
Sadly, it didn't work out that way. Instead, Universal and BDG (the local concert promoter, who made a tidy profit from ticket sales), get a government handout from the taxpayer.