Monday, April 5, 2010

Lebanese Divas

The business of… Lebanese divas

Elissa, Nancy and Haifa are known for their music, acting and sex appeal. But for some, they also represent big business.

Lebanese divas are popular for many different reasons: their music, their acting (or sometimes, their inability to act) and, commonly among gentlemen, their sex appeal.

But some people love stars such as Haifa Wehbe, Elissa and Nancy Ajram for an altogether different reason: their money-making abilities.

Record companies, advertisers, marketers and promoters have all signed lucrative contracts with Lebanese divas. Here we take a look at some of the biggest deals – and how the singers themselves have raked in millions.

Stars 1

Elissa (pictured) is one of the best-known female singers in the Arab world – and is also one of the richest, with her wealth estimated at more than $33 million. Strong record sales helped her along the way: she was named the best-selling Middle East artist in 2005 and 2006, and has sold close to 18 million albums worldwide. She was also one of the first Lebanese divas to sign a sponsorship deal with Pepsi.

Stars 2

Fellow diva Nancy Ajram is just 26 years old (much younger than Elissa, who is 38), but she has already amassed a personal wealth of more than $16 million, mainly through album sales and commercials.

Haifa Wehbe (pictured), full of sexual suggestiveness, is the bad girl to Ajram’s ‘girl next door’. She first captured attention at the age of 16 when she won a beauty contest in South Lebanon; by 1996, she had appeared on over a hundred magazine covers. She is among the richest Lebanese pop stars, though the extent of her wealth is unknown.


Lebanese performers are celebrated throughout the Arab World – and consequently have high sales figures. For example, Ajram (pictured) has sold over four million albums in Lebanon and ranks as the third best-selling female artist in Lebanese and Egyptian music history.

Lebanon is one of the powerhouses of Arab music. While traditional folk music remains popular, modern music combining Western and traditional Arabic styles, pop, and fusion are becoming more and more popular.

Despite problems with piracy and illegal music downloads, the World Intellectual Property Organization says that Lebanon's music industry is mounting and could reach leading status in the region.


Ajram, Wehbe and Elissa have all signed high-profile advertising deals with international and Arab companies.

Elissa has worked with the likes of Pepsi, Lux, Lazurde jewels, Ray Ban and Samsung mobiles, in deals thought to be worth a total of $1 million per year.

Ajram has signed deals with Sony Ericsson, Damas, and Coca-Cola, while Haifa has worked with Pepsi, Chopard and Louis Vuitton.


In 2007, Elissa was chosen by French company Georges Stahl to create her own perfume, Elle D’Elissa – which we were told was the “first international perfume for an Arab artist”. She also worked with Samsung for the launch of a music-enabled phone that contained three of her songs.

One of the most successful merchandising deals was Nancy Ajram`s work with Sony Ericsson, which involved the launch of a special edition of Walkman series model W595i, which incorporates the star`s signature. The phone cost AED400 more than the same version of the phone without the star’s signature


Which of the performers charge the most to appear on stage?

This question was answered last New Year’s Eve, when all three Lebanese divas put on concerts.

It was reported that Elissa earned $130,000 for her performance, while Wehbe received $80,000 and Nancy got $70,000. Fans paid between $250 and $1,000 for a ticket to attend Nancy’s event, while Haifa’s fans paid $350 and $700 for a ticket.

-- Kipp Report

Who would've thought that Elissa charges more to perform than Haifa or Nancy? I mean I personally would pay to see Elissa and not Haifa but I thought Haifa would certainly be the highest grosser...Also--Elissa is 38?? Really?? It's a plastic surgery miracle!



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