Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Saudi Arabia is not historically a serious stopoff on a worldwide music tour, however big-name artists are more and more going there.

Mariah Carey set the celebrity bar excessive again in January.

Since then Nicki Minaj mentioned sure to a efficiency in Jeddah – however then changed her mind to help the rights of girls and the LGBT neighborhood.

And now, South Korean boy band BTS have introduced they are going to be performing a live performance in Riyadh in October.

So why does Saudi Arabia need excessive profile stars to carry out there?

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman says he desires to reform the nation

The economic system

The Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has mentioned he desires to reform the nation each in social and financial phrases as a part of his Vision 2030 plan to point out a contemporary Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been counting on oil to earn cash for a very long time, however instability in oil costs imply it is not as dependable now.

So due to the need for economic reform and funding from exterior the nation, Saudi Arabia has been making an attempt to point out the world it is open for enterprise.

And attracting artists resembling BTS is seen as a manner to try this.

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

A brand new cinema theatre has opened in Riyadh

Social reform

One space Saudi Arabia is making an attempt to develop is its entertainment business.

A lot of Saudi residents journey exterior the nation to see live shows and movies.

To ensure they spend cash inside Saudi, new cinemas and purchasing centres are being opened and mainstream artists are being invited to carry out.

“They’re making an attempt to create an inter-cultural communication between Saudi Arabia and the world,” Yasmin, a 24-year-old Saudi resident, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“We have now individuals from all world wide dwelling in Saudi Arabia so by doing that they are making an attempt to match everybody’s style.”

A few of these social reforms additionally embody lifting the ban on girls with the ability to drive and permitting them to attend soccer matches.

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

Mariah Carey carried out in Saudi Arabia in January regardless of strain to cancel

Who’s already carried out there?

In December 2017, Nelly carried out a live performance in Jeddah, nevertheless it was controversially a men-only occasion.

At a Formulation E live performance, acts resembling Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta, OneRepublic and The Black Eyed Peas all carried out throughout three days.

In January, Mariah Carey placed on a efficiency, sharing the stage with Sean Paul and DJ Tiesto.

Regardless of going through a serious backlash, she claimed this was an opportunity to work in the direction of gender equality in Saudi Arabia.

Her publicists said: “As the primary feminine worldwide artist to carry out in Saudi Arabia, Mariah recognises the cultural significance of this occasion and can proceed to help international efforts in the direction of equality for all.”

And it is not simply musical artists.

The WWE (World Wrestling Leisure) held its Crown Jewel occasion in Saudi Arabia, regardless of its girls wrestlers not being allowed to carry out.

Media playback is unsupported in your gadget

Media captionA younger Crown Prince is shaping change within the Saudi kingdom.

So is the fact totally different?

In accordance with Yasmin, issues are “not as strict as they was once”.

She says in locations like espresso outlets and eating places, “everybody sits in the identical part and you do not have that segregation anymore.”

However organisations resembling Human Rights Watch (HRW) say there may be doubt over how a lot change is definitely going down.

Although they have been permitted to drive, HRW say girls nonetheless face a number of limitations.

They claim Saudi authorities have arrested a number of well-known girls’s rights advocates simply earlier than lifting the driving ban, accusing them of “suspicious contact with overseas events”.

And ladies nonetheless must get hold of permission from a male guardian – a husband, father, brother or son – to do abnormal issues resembling travelling overseas, getting a passport, accessing healthcare and even with the ability to work.

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

Ladies in Saudi Arabia at the moment are allowed to drive

There’s additionally criticism over its report on LGBT rights.

Saudi Arabia has no precise written laws about sexual orientation or gender id.

However judges use rules of Islamic legislation to sanction individuals suspected of intercourse exterior marriage, gay intercourse or different “immoral” acts, in response to HRW.

What are individuals saying?

There’s been combined reactions to the information of the BTS live performance, which was introduced on Sunday.

Some followers have mentioned politics should not be a consider performing whereas others have mentioned Saudi Arabia must be boycotted due to its human rights report.

So it stays to be seen whether or not BTS will observe Nicki Minaj in cancelling or if we’ll see them performing as deliberate in Riyadh in October.

Observe Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Hearken to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or hear again here.