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Continuing a series of interviews with the 2023 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Gilbert Paz, VP of live entertainment business operations at Loud And Live
By IQ on 05 Sep 2023
The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous interview with Dylan Cherry, senior promoter at Endeavour Live (NZ). The series continues with Gilbert Paz, vice president of live entertainment business operations at Loud And Live (US).
After stints in the Latin division at WME and at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Gilbert Paz joined Loud and Live in 2019. Paz’s contributions have been instrumental to the company’s live entertainment business, specifically focused on growing the company’s touring and live events presentations. His leadership helped cement a record year for Loud And Live, and positioned the company as an industry leader and one of the world’s top promoters. In his role as VP, live entertainment business operations, Gilbert has been an invaluable contributor, overseeing worldwide tour offers, routing, contract negotiations, ticketing and venue relationships, resulting in some of Loud And Live’s most successful tours to date.
Tours that Gilbert has led include top global artists, such as Ricardo Arjona, Carlos Vives, Camila, Sin Bandera, Reik, Melendi, Ruben Blades, Servando y Florentino, Fito Paez, Carlos Rivera, Farruko, Juan Luis Guerra, Ricardo Montaner, Roberto Carlos, Silvestre Dangond and Camilo’s first Arena Tour, collectively resulting in sold-out tours across nearly 400 shows in 2021 and 2022. He also successfully led the talent booking for Miami’s first premier country music festival, Country Bay. This inaugural year, the Country Bay Music Festival will take place on November 11 and 12, and includes some of the world’s biggest country artists, such as Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Chris Young, Lainey Wilson and Lee Brice among many others.
Your career path before Loud and Live involved experience across a range of sectors. How has this experience helped you in your day-to-day work, through understanding the challenges faced by people like agents, venue operators, and even musicians?
My previous experience working on the agent side and as a venue operator has undeniably been invaluable in my current role as a promoter. The insights gained from being on the agent side of the business have given me a profound understanding of different deal structures and negotiation tactics. I know where to initiate discussions and how far I can push to achieve the best possible outcome for both parties involved. I also understand effective tour routings and how they can affect an artist’s profitability on tour. Having come from the agent side, I have a deep understanding of agency dynamics, which is valuable in my day-to-day conversations as a concert promoter with them. Having previously worked as a venue operator, I have honed my skills in maximizing and formulating venue deals. This experience has provided me with a keen understanding of the venue’s perspective, enabling me to negotiate and secure advantageous terms for our events. Furthermore, my ability to create accurate event proformas stems from my time on the venue side, where I had to prepare financial projections and budgets for events on a regular basis. My most valuable skill learned from the venue side was probably my daily involvement in ticketing.
“I firmly believe that the Latin Music genre has yet to reach a plateau”
Having gained a deep understanding of ticketing from A to Z from my time at the venue has allowed me to take that skill to make informed decisions regarding pricing, promotions, and ticket distribution strategies for our shows. With my experience as a musician, I have learned skills that aid in handling unexpected situations as a concert promoter. My familiarity with the logistics and dynamics of live performances gives me an advantage in foreseeing potential issues and making contingency plans. My understanding of artist expectations and audience needs enables me to make informed decisions when facing last-minute changes or challenges. Additionally, my ability to adapt and improvise on stage as a musician translates well into managing unexpected situations with composure and creativity as a concert promoter. Overall, my musical, agent and venue background, has equipped me with a unique perspective and problem-solving abilities that are essential in this fast-paced and dynamic industry.
We’ve seen an explosion in the popularity of Latin American acts in recent years. Do you think there is still room for more growth, or have we reached a plateau?
I firmly believe that the Latin Music genre has yet to reach a plateau and instead holds boundless potential for exponential growth. The genre continues to transcend language barriers and captivate diverse audiences.
What made you decide to move into the promoting side of the business? And were there any lessons from the other roles you have done that promoters would benefit from (and vice versa)?
With a deep passion for music, I enjoy being part of the music industry, but I made the switch to the promoting side because I wanted to have an active role in creating memorable experiences for both artists and fans. As a promoter, you play a crucial role in fostering meaningful connections between artists and their audience through live performances and concerts. In addition, as a promoter, I thrive on the rush that comes with taking risks. The excitement of planning and executing events, anticipating their success, and overcoming challenges along the way fuels my passion for the role.
“Launching the country music festival in Miami was undoubtedly a bold and innovative move for the company”
Are there any particular events or shows you are looking forward to this year or next?
I am beyond thrilled for Miami’s first premier country festival happening this November 11-12 which Loud And Live is producing. The lineup is absolutely amazing, featuring incredible artists like Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Lainey Wilson, Chris Young, and Lee Brice, among many others at the historic Miami Marine Stadium site. This festival is a dream come true for country music lovers like me and especially in Miami!
What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Being an integral part of the team at Loud And Live in a record-breaking year where we produced nearly 400 live events within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Latin America. Our determination led us to secure and manage the tours of many of the world’s biggest Latin artists and resulted in us being ranked as one of the world’s top promoters.
Launching a country music festival in Florida is a bold move. Are you looking outside the box to do similar things elsewhere: country music in Mexico? A metal festival in Nashville? Perhaps you can talk a bit about your research process?
Launching the country music festival in Miami was undoubtedly a bold and innovative move for the company. Although traditionally known for its association with American culture, we saw that country music has surprisingly found resonance within the Hispanic communities in Miami. This can be attributed to the growing influence of second and third-generation Latin-Americans who have embraced country music, creating a surge in its consumption and popularity in the region.
With our marketing expertise and in-depth studies, we will continue to identify untapped markets for the Latin community within the United States, paving the way for Latin artists to reach new audiences. For example, we took Ricard Arjona to Nashville, TN this year which was an untapped market, and it was the highest-grossing Latin show Bridgestone Arena has ever had. We will leverage this momentum and continue to open doors to unexplored market opportunities.
“The Latin live entertainment concert industry has a pressing need for growth and support for developing artists”
At our company, we also own and create IP and continuously strive to identify and seize opportunities to meet unmet needs in the market. While we have several exciting projects in the pipeline, we are thrilled to announce one of our latest ventures: Christmas Wonderland in Miami. This groundbreaking event will revolutionize the traditional Christmas experience by offering a modern-day take on the festivities. With immersive experiences, captivating live performances, interactive zones, exhilarating rides, and thrilling games, we aim to provide an unforgettable holiday season. We anticipate over 300,000 attendees during the 8-week event.
Do you have a mentor, or people you can trust to bounce ideas off?
Working under the guidance of our esteemed CEO, Nelson Albareda, has been an inspiring journey for me as he has become not only a mentor but also a true role model. His visionary leadership, unwavering support, and invaluable insights have significantly contributed to my professional growth. However, it’s not just the guidance of one person that makes our company exceptional. We are fortunate to have an incredible team of creative individuals who come from diverse backgrounds, each bringing a unique perspective to the table. Together, our collective expertise and creativity form the backbone of our success, driving us forward as a united force within the industry.
As a New Boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
The Latin live entertainment concert industry has a pressing need for growth and support for developing artists. To address this opportunity, a powerful solution could be the creation of a dedicated platform and concert series exclusively tailored to supporting emerging musicians. This platform would serve as a steppingstone for these artists to gain exposure and recognition within the industry. By curating events that showcase a diverse range of talent, the series would provide a unique opportunity for developing musicians to connect with larger audiences and industry professionals. By nurturing the talent of Latin artists and giving them a chance to shine on a grand stage, this initiative can contribute significantly to the growth and evolution of the Latin live entertainment concert scene, ultimately enriching the music industry as a whole.
What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
In five years, I envision myself continuing to play a pivotal role in the growth of Loud And Live, helping take it from doing 400 shows to 5,000 shows a year. I am excited about the prospect of diversifying the genres we work on touring and expanding our footprint around the globe. I see myself spearheading strategic initiatives and being a part of driving the company’s success.
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