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Spanish ticket sales revenue soars 26%

Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) has revealed the domestic live music sector generated more than €578 million in 2023 – the highest figure ever recorded.

Ticket sales revenue was up 26% compared to existing record of €459m, set in the previous year, thanks to successful tours by artists from at home and abroad.

In the foreword of the newly published Live Music Yearbook 2024, APM president Albert Salmeron applauds an “exceptional moment” for the business, while stressing the importance of safeguarding the country’s emerging music scene.

“In the artistic field, we can affirm that it’s been a great year,” he says. “We have enjoyed more stadium concerts than ever in our history; we have an ecosystem of festivals that is increasingly broader and diverse, and we have emerging talent that assures us a promising future.

“We also have a fabric of small and medium rooms necessary for the development of that talent that must be protected. Every time a city closes a room, we stay without a unique and irreplaceable space.”

The best-selling tours by Spanish artists were Manuel Carrasco (promoted by Riff Producciones) with 365,652 tickets sold for 28 dates, Melendi (Riff Producciones), who sold 308,258 tickets sold for 37 concerts and Joaquín Sabina (The Project, Get In, Riff, Camerino Triangular AIE, in collaboration with Berry Producciones) with 253,809 tickets sold across 31 shows.

“There has been an enormous offering of concerts and tours by national artists throughout the territory”

The top 3 international tours, meanwhile, were Coldplay (Live Nation) with 221,140 tickets sold for their four consecutive shows in Barcelona, Harry Styles (Live Nation) with 120,534 tickets sold for two concerts, and Bruce Springsteen (Doctor Music) with 115,850 tickets sold, also for two nights.

“The long-awaited performances by countless artists for their audience and the consolidation of Spain as an essential stop for major international tours have made headlines, especially in the second half of 2023,” reads a press release.

“Additionally, the vibrant health of Spanish music has also been a protagonist. As evidence of this, there has been an enormous offering of concerts and tours by national artists throughout the territory, with the audience response matching expectations.”

In the festival sector, the top 3 comprised Arenal Sound Festival (Burriana, The Music Republic) with 300,000 attendees, Primavera Sound Barcelona (Barcelona, Primavera Sound) with 243,000, and Viña Rock (Villarrobledo, The Music Republic) with 240,000.

In terms of provinces, Barcelona (Catalonia) took top spot with revenues of €132.5m – a huge 70% uptick on 2022. Madrid (Community of Madrid) came in second with €94.6m (down 8.9%), followed by Málaga (Andalusia) in third with €24.5m, an increase of 72% on the previous year.


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Spain’s APM reveals record ticket sales

Spain’s Association of Musical Promoters (APM) has revealed revenue from ticket sales reached record levels in 2022.

The organisation says box office takings of more than €459 million soared 191.33% on 2021, a year restricted by the pandemic, but were also up 20% on the previous best, set in the last pre-Covid year of 2019.

Speaking in the newly published Live Music Yearbook 2023, APM president Albert Salmeron says the figures symbolise “the recovery of a society”.

The biggest-selling tour was by Spanish rock band Fito & Fitipaldis, promoted by Live Nation, which moved 329,820 tickets for 27 concerts, followed by Alejandro Sanz (staged by Mow Management and GTS), who recorded 287,948 attendees for 16 live shows and Manuel Carrasco (Riff Producciones), who drew 260,809 fans to 19 dates.

American singer-songwriter and eight-time Latin Grammy winner Marc Anthony was the year’s best-selling international act, shifting 163,124 tickets for 10 Planet Events & Live Nation-presented gigs. In second place were the Red Hot Chili Peppers with 98,483 tickets sold for just two dates, followed by Morat (GTS), who pulled in a total of 97,434 people for his 10 concerts.

The top music festivals were Primavera Sound in Barcelona with a reported 500,700 attendees across the course of the event, ahead of Mad Cool in Madrid (310,000) and The Music Republic’s Arenal Sound in Burriana (300,000).

In terms of regions, the community of Madrid led the way with live music takings of €103.6m (22.55% of the national total), with Catalonia reaching €97.4m and Andalusia being responsible for €75.9m.

“Spain has become one of the main markets for global tours”

Salmeron, director of Barcelona-based Producciones Animadas, adds that the “amazing recovery” of the Spanish live music market also entailed new challenges for APM, including around the “scourge” of secondary ticketing.

“[We are] working to improve the industry on fundamental issues such as sustainability, equality of gender throughout the supply chain production… and, at the same time, fight against resale, which is certainly one of our main demons,” he says.

“The excessive and uncontrolled growth of the so-called secondary market, that has no borders, has generated ethical and economic issues for our sector and for the fan. It is a priority to fight against this with the help and complicity of all the agents involved and minimise a scourge that affects us all.”

Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was recently declared “open for business” for live music bookings as its extensive renovation nears completion.

“Maybe before, Spain was a country you could leave out of a global tour, but you wouldn’t do that now,” the venue’s head of large events and concerts Rocio Vallejo-Nágera told IQ. “I think we have become one of the main markets for global tours. And it’s not just American or British artists anymore – Latin music is growing so much and that works very well in Spain, and local acts are now filling arenas.”


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Spanish promoters welcome cultural VAT cut

The Spanish government has made good on its pledge to cut value-added tax (VAT) on live entertainment to 10%, in a move welcomed by a relieved Association of Music Promoters (APM).

VAT on “cultural shows” (espectáculos culturales) has stood at 21% since September 2012, when prime minister Mariano Rajoy increased the tax, which previously stood at 8%, in an effort to plug a hole in Spain’s public finances. The tax hike was catastrophic for the Spanish live industry: revenue from ticket sales fell 27.5% between 1 September 2012 and summer 2013 alone, and the value of the market only recovered to its pre-2011 levels last February.

The new rate of VAT – 10% – was signed into law in Spain’s state gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado) yesterday.

“The confirmation of the lowering of cultural VAT demonstrates the importance of associations such as APM, because it means that when we unite and work together, we achieve our objectives,” comments APM president Albert Salmerón, adding that the tax cut comes after a “long period of lobbying by the music industry”.

“When we unite and work together, we achieve our objectives”

Despite welcoming the VAT cut, Salmerón (pictured) points out that 10% is still higher than in several other live music markets – and says APM will continue to lobby to secure “super-reduced VAT”, as is charged on books and newspapers, for the live business. (Most books and papers are taxed at 4%.)

According to a statement from APM, the new rate of VAT “continues to exceed the tariff of countries like Norway (0%) and Switzerland (2.5%), as well as several EU member states, such as Germany (7%), France (5.5%) and the Netherlands (6%). For this reason, the next objective is to obtain super-reduced VAT, at least [as low as that] applied to newspapers and books.”

Salmerón also warns that high VAT is just one of many challenges faced by the music industry, with “the legal recognition of music, the professionalisation of the sector, the promotion of a Ley de Mecenazgo (‘patronage law’, which would give tax breaks to private companies investing in arts and culture) and the regulation of secondary ticketing all needing to be tackled the ensure the health of the sector.


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Albert Salmerón named APM president

Albert Salmerón, director of Barcelona-based Producciones Animadas, was today appointed president of Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM).

Salmerón (pictured), who takes over from Pascual Egea, leads a board of directors comprising Doctor Music’s Neo Sala, Tito Ramoneda of The Project, Julio Martí of Serious Fan Music and Maricruz Laguna, director of marketing at Universal Music’s GTS.

The news was announced at APM’s 17th annual general meeting in Peralada, Catalonia. Egea was not eligible for reelection, having already served eight years in the role.

With Animadas, Salmerón is involved in the Barcelona Acció Musical (BAM), Hipnotik and Utopia festivals, as well as Legal Music’s troubled SOS 4.8. He has been an APM board member for the past four years.

His presidency, he says, will be “discreet and conflict-free”.


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