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Primavera Sound 2023 to be held in Barca and Madrid

The 2023 instalment of Primavera Sound will be held in two different Spanish cities across two weekends.

Next year’s festival will take place at its usual location of Parc Del Fòrum, Barcelona, on the first weekend (1–3 June).

On the second weekend (8–10 June), the festival will take place in the Ciudad de Rock (City of Rock) in Arganda del Rey, Madrid, for the first time ever.

The site, which has the capacity to hold up to 96,000 people, has hosted all three editions (2008, 2010, 2012) of the Rock in Rio Festival Madrid.

“Double site – double excitement”

Primavera has a longstanding affinity with Madrid, having hosted autumn festival Primavera Club – as well as countless international tours – in the city.

“The landing in Madrid is just the latest chapter in our long and close relationship with the city, and also the first for everything to come: for communication and connections, for the history of a Primavera Sound that in 2023 will start in Barcelona and end in Madrid that can only benefit our audience. Double site – double excitement,” said the festival organisers.

Primavera Sound has taken place in Barcelona for 20 years and has recently expanded internationally with sister events in Los AngelesChile, Argentina and Brazil.

The 20th-anniversary edition of the Barcelona event will take place this year in a special expanded format.


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Ticketmaster grows presence in Mexico, Chile

Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketer, is expanding its presence in Latin America with new operations in Mexico and Chile.

The news comes shortly after Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation acquired Ocesa Entretenimiento, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

Under the new ownership structure, Ticketmaster Mexico will transition from a licensing agreement to integrating operations with the broader organisation.

According to Ticketmaster, the move will enable the Mexican business to gain access to the company’s full suite of technology, products and services.

“”Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts”

In Chile, where Ticketmaster will launch for the first time, the initial market focus will be on increasing digital ticketing use.

Chile and Mexico are the latest markets to be added to Ticketmaster’s Latin American portfolio, which already includes Argentina and Brazil.

The company has long had a foothold in Argentina, delivering ticketing services for several venues and festivals.

While in Brazil, the company focuses on supporting Live Nation’s Rock in Rio music festival and touring business, with plans to bring its digital ticketing technology to the market in 2022.

“Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts,” says Mark Yovich, Ticketmaster president. “The region has become an important destination for global touring artists, and we have also seen significant growth in venue and festival activity over the last several years.

“Bringing Mexico into the fold and launching in Chile is such a positive way to finish off the year. We look forward to working with our strong base of partners to elevate the fan experience and further our support of the region.”


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Q&A: Move Concerts boss details LatAm’s recovery

As markets across Latin America gradually reopen, Phil Rodriguez of Move Concerts – the biggest independent concert promoter in the region – says he’s optimistic about the region’s recovery.

Emerging from the most difficult year in live music history, Rodriguez expects the industry to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic “stronger and wiser”.

However, according to the Move Concerts boss, there are a number of obstacles that stand between Latam’s industry and a full recovery.

Below, Rodriguez outlines those obstacles, reflects on the lessons learnt from the pandemic, and addresses “the elephant in the room”…

IQ: How is Latin America’s return to business going?
PR: It’s a patchwork of different sets of rules and regulations per country so it has been a challenge to get them all aligned to have a proper tour of the region. But we’re finally getting there!

In which markets are you now able to fully operate?
Puerto Rico was able to start at full capacity (with proof of vaccination) as of August and business has been incredible. Not only have the shows been selling out, but single dates became multiples. That market came back STRONG.

What’s the deal with vaccine passports and capacity restrictions in Latam?
As noted, it’s a patchwork. Brazil is operating at 70% capacity with proof of vaccination and will open to 100% this week. Argentina will open at 100% capacity with proof of vaccination and with requirements for face masks from 16 November.

Uruguay is at 55% without vaccination and 70% with vaccination. Colombia will be at 100% capacity for vaccinated people from 16 November. Chile is currently held to 40% and in some cases 60% capacity – vaccinated and socially distanced. The expectation is to be open at 100% for the vaccinated by January 2022. Costa Rica will be at 100% as of March 2022 for the vaccinated.

“The lack of cancellation insurance for Covid is the elephant in the room for all of us”

Where has Move’s focus been since markets started to open up?
Rescheduling, booking new tours for the end of 2022 and 2023. Plus our management company and indie record label, Grand Move Records, which are both at full speed.

What opportunities do you see during this recovery period?
The chance to reinvent ourselves and look outside our comfort zone. We all had to do this during the pandemic. We should not get complacent once we return to some normalcy and forget that.

What are the challenges you’re facing right now? 
The lack of cancellation insurance for Covid is the elephant in the room for all of us. The rest we can deal with but will still present a strong challenge such as inflation and devaluation of currencies – which have been hit hard by the pandemic – and the economic consequences of the lockdowns, etc.

How long do you think it’ll take for Latam to get back to pre-pandemic levels of business?
The Covid issue, in my opinion, has been both a health and political issue, unfortunately, and that has not helped us get a better picture of what is ahead of us. But if by the second half of 2022, we are not on a solid road to pre-pandemic levels, we will ALL have bigger problems to worry about. That said, I’m an optimist by nature and I think we’ll come out of this wiser and stronger!

“If by the second half of ’22, we are not on a solid road to pre-pandemic levels, we’ll all have bigger problems to worry about”

When and how do you see international acts coming back to Latin America?
In South America, we kick off with a-ha in March 2022 – Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Move hosted Latam’s first drive-thru show during the pandemic. Is that a format you’ll be returning to?
Not really…we do not see the need nor demand for this any longer as live concerts startup.

What about livestreaming – is there still demand in that area of the business?
This has essentially stopped. With the return of live shows – with reduced capacities – streaming has lost its initial appeal. I’m sure it will still be a good tool to have in our toolbox for use in the future but in a different form… more related to marketing or a special event, etc.

What one thing are you most proud of doing during the pandemic?
That we kept all our team in place and did not have to furlough or lay off anyone. We all took salary cuts and weathered the storm together.

Also, our office in Bogota took the initiative and created an internet site with different content – entertainment, cooking, lifestyle, etc – that raised over US$10,000 to support the local production crews and their families in the middle of the pandemic. That was a fabulous effort that made me very proud of our team there.


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Global Eclipse festival refuses to give full refunds

Global Eclipse is refusing to refund ticket holders for its Patagonia Gathering festival in December, even though authorities are currently refusing to let international tourists into Argentina due to Covid.

Organisers of the Argentine EDM festival are refusing to provide refunds on the grounds that the festival has not been cancelled, despite there being no way for the vast majority of ticket holders to attend on 14 December.

Instead of full refunds, the organisers have offered a “buyback” program, whereby customers are able to receive 50% of their ticket price, along with the cost of any accommodation and parking passes, in exchange for signing a legal document that will “release [the organisers] from liability in regards to [the] Patagonia Gathering”.

According to Guardian Australia, the organisers sent an email to ticket holders stating: “We’ve had requests to ‘refund the money’ but it’s not possible to retrieve sunk costs for labour, and niche physical assets are not easy to sell in the downtrodden Argentine economy.

“Humans are social beings. Isolation has taken a toll on all of us. We are meant to connect and we are meant to gather. We plan to do it safely in the best way possible.

“We are producers with decades of experience who are 2.5 years into a three-year project and we’ve learned to prepare for permutations of earth, wind, and fire but none of us had ‘global pandemic’ on our 2020 bingo card.”

“It’s not possible to retrieve sunk costs for labour, and niche physical assets are not easy to sell in the Argentine economy”

The company noted in another email that ticket sales were “final, no refund passes for a rain or shine event”.

The event has been in the works for three years, with many fans purchasing tickets before Covid-19, and is due to take place near the small town of Las Coloradas, which is four hours from the nearest major city.

Despite the fact the country is nearing one million Covid-19 cases, on 26 August, after months of silence from organisers, they announced that the Patagonian party would go ahead.

However, with only two months to go, the line-up for the festival is yet to be announced, raising concerns about organisers’ transparency.

Argentina has enforced one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, with regular internal flights set to resume for the first time since March this week. Social gatherings have been periodically banned, and a huge number of major events cancelled in order to curb the virus’s spread.


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Move Concerts allies with hip-hop platform Damn!

Move Concerts, the largest independent promoter in Latin America, has partnered with influential urban show Damn! to grow its digital footprint while concerts are on hold.

Damn!, described as the most important hip-hop programme in the Spanish-speaking world, has a strong and growing fan base in Argentina, Mexico and Spain, with more than 430,000 subscribers on YouTube. The show is broadcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6–8pm Argentina time.

The partnership will see Damn! film its show from a new studio complex created by Move Concerts Argentina and the programme’s co-producer, MAD, which provided technical support. The new studio is located at Move Concerts’ Argentinian HQ in Buenos Aires.

According to Move, the partnership is “the first step by Move Concerts and Move Management to show the strong commitment they have made to urban artists”.

The collaboration with Damn! is the latest Covid-era initiative for Move Concerts, which also has offices in Miami, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica. The company last month hosted Latin America’s first drive-in concerts, and was a partner on La Morada, an online entertainment venue that raised money for Colombian production crew.


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Indie promoters talk challenges, post-corona recovery

The latest IQ Focus virtual panel, The State of Independence: Promoters, checked in with independent concert promoters in the UK, Europe, India and South America to discover how these entrepreneurs are preparing for the live industry’s return to normality.

Hosted by agent Emma Banks (CAA), yesterday’s session welcomed British promoters Anton Lockwood (DHP Family) and David Messer (DMP), Munbir Chawla from India’s The Wild City, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion’s Roman Pitone to discuss the current difficulties unique to their sector, as well as the opportunities and challenges of a post-Covid-19 world .

Speaking about emerging concert formats such as drive-in shows, Pitone said Karsten Jahnke has done a number of drive-in events in Germany over the past few months. “Overall, they went well,” he said, but enthusiasm has declined over time as fans increasingly miss ‘real’ shows: “You could see when we started it that people were really eager to see shows [in some form] again, but it slowed down as time went on as people realised it’s just not the same.”

He added that the company is only breaking even on its drive-in and other socially distanced events. “With the income, we’re just paying for what we’re doing,” he explained. “This is just to keep doing something that is our passion and our livelihood, until we can do something [else]…”

In India, where live music is still invariably sponsored, brands have realised the coronavirus crisis isn’t going away and are spending less on live events, creating a headache for promoters, said Chawla. “The brands have realised they’re in it for the long haul, and cultural marketing spend is now being put back into marketing the products” directly, he commented.

“I want to remain independent. It’s not all and gloom”

“Unlike a lot of other scenes, the Indian scene is pretty reliant on brands. So, with the brands spending less money, that will also affect shows and the scale at which they can happen.”

Giving an overview of the situation in countries where Move Concerts operates, Eselevsky brought panellists up to date on the latest developments in Latin America, from the furlough scheme in Argentina to ticket vouchers in Brazil and drive-in concerts in Puerto Rico.

She also touched on the challenge of organising concerts in Argentina when the value of the local currency fluctuates so often: “Three years ago, the exchange rate was 18 pesos [to the US dollar],” she said. “Now it’s 75 pesos.”

Banks described her own experience of playing Argentina, relaying how one of her acts once oversold a show in Buenos Aires and still didn’t break even. “Try explaining that to the manager!” she said.

Turning to 2021, Messer said he’s “finding that because so many things have been moved into next year, things are fully booked” for late 2021 already. “So it’s very hard to know what you can book – the dates are going very quickly, but you can’t book the artists” because the situation around international touring is still so unclear.

“People are talking a lot more to each other … We’re all in the same place”

Lockwood said he can understood why many artists, especially American ones, could be reluctant to travel internationally well into next year, even if it’s a “depressing” thought. “Imagine the nightmare of being a US band,” he explained, “you get to the border of Spain and Portugal, and your bus driver gets a cough and you have to quarantine for 14 days. So, your whole tour’s just gone.

“Whereas, at least if you’re a US band and you tour the US, you won’t get caught in that.”

While the crisis has thrown into sharp relief the vulnerability of the independent sector, none of the panellists responded in the affirmative when Banks asked, tongue in cheek, if they wish they’d sold to Live Nation before coronavirus hit.

“It’s not all and gloom,” said Chawla, highlighting the quality of the music being released and the increasingly global nature of the industry as among the bright spots, while Messer praised how “people have come together” to mitigate the impact of the concert shutdown.

“People are talking a lot more to each other – people from different sides of the industry,” he said, in a sentiment echoed by Banks. “We’re all in the same place, and luckily everyone’s helping each other, which we have to do. We all need each other – we’re not going survive unless we can all exist.”

For more discussion and debate, including on ticket pricing, refunds and vouchers, ‘Swiss-cheese touring’ and much more, watch the session back on YouTube or Facebook now.


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Indie promoters in spotlight for next IQ Focus

Continuing the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual sessions, State of Independence: Promoters will see independent event organisers from across the globe come together to discuss the specific obstacles facing their business.

The tenth panel of the popular IQ Focus series, the session will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 16 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

Across the touring world, independent promoters are facing a similar challenge when looking ahead to a post Covid-19 business.

While this current period presents many unique challenges for this creative and entrepreneurial sector, it’s one of many pressures they face. So what’s the state of play in Europe, South America and India? And what alternative show formats, and business models are independent promoters adopting to stay ahead?

CAA’s Emma Banks hosts the session to ask, as the industry emerges from its current crisis, where the opportunities might lie?

Joining Banks are DHP Family’s Anton Lockwood, Karsten Janhke Konzertdirektion’s Ben Mitha, DMP UK’s David Messer, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Munbir Chawla from the Wild City in India.

All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including the challenges facing festivals, diversity in live, management under lockdown, the agency business, large-scale venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.

To set a reminder about State of Independence: Promoters session on Thursday head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.


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Uncertainty for promoters as Covid-19 spreads in Latam

Promoters in Latin America are facing much uncertainty as shows are shut down, curfews imposed and currency values decline due to the worsening spread of coronavirus

The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Latin America in late February, in the Brazilian city of São Paulo. The virus has now spread to many other countries in the region, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

In the region’s biggest touring markets, quarantines are in place in Argentina, Colombia and parts of Brazil. In Chile, the government has imposed a curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, with over one million residents of its capital, Santiago, put under lockdown today (26 March).

This week, the Mexican government placed a ban on all public and private gatherings of over 100 people for the next month, as the country moved into phase two of the epidemic.

“It is still way too early to gauge the full impact in the mid and long term,” says Phil Rodriguez, CEO of Move Concerts, which has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Puerto Rico, as well as its Miami headquarters. “The first impact is that shows and festivals have been cancelled or rescheduled.”

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change.”

Major festivals in Latin America affected by the virus include the Lollapalooza festival franchise, which has been rescheduled for 23 to 26 November in Argentina, 27 to 29 November in Chile and 4 to 6 December in Brazil. Estéreo Picnic, due to take place in the Colombian capital of Bogotá in March, has now moved to the start of December.

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change”

Rodriguez notes that promoters’ associations in all markets have been meeting and reaching out to governments for assistance in various forms, such as “ low interest credit lines, moratorium on taxes and extensions on the time period for reimbursements on cancelled shows.”

Asked what can be expected over the next few months, Rodriguez simply replies: “I wish I knew”.

“This is a continually changing scenario that can change at any minute and has so many parts involved that any speculation is sheer conjecture,” says the Move Concerts boss. “I think we all need a few more weeks to get a better handle on the longer term picture.”

Guillermo Parra, director of international events at Ocesa, the largest promoter in Latin America, agrees that the upcoming weeks “will be crucial”.

Live Nation announced its plan to acquire a controlling stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the world’s fifth-largest promoter and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico, in July last year. The promoter puts around 3,100 shows a year and operates 14 venues across Mexico.

“At the moment, all gatherings have been banned – from movie theaters to concerts – until 19 April,” says Parra, “but I honestly think this will go on for longer.”

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin”

In Chile, a market which has seen heavy disruption over the past few months due to wide-spread anti-government protests, promoters are rescheduling shows to June, subject to venue availability and touring schedules, says Carlos Geniso, president of DG Medios.

On 18 March, Chilean president Sebastian Piñera declared a “state of catastrophe” for 90 days in the whole country, including a ban on gatherings in public spaces and the establishing of a quarantine and curfew. After Brazil, the country is currently one of the worst affected in the region, with 1,142 confirmed cases.

“We are trying to move as much we can to the last quarter calendar of 2020,” says Geniso, adding that the income loss for thousands of people working in the country’s live industry “will be great for a long period of time”.

The economic impact of the virus is of great concern for all in Latin America. Rodriguez states that Brazil and Colombia have been hit particularly hard by the virus, not just in terms of numbers – Brazil has reported 2,201 cases and Colombia has 378 – but rather because “the exchange rate with the dollar has skyrocketed”.

One dollar is equivalent to 5.05 Brazilian reales, up from BRL4.45 at the end of February, whereas 4,066 Colombian pesos now equal $1, increasing from COP3,460 a month ago.

In Mexico, Parra states that, between the virus and declining oil prices, “the Mexican peso has been crushed”. The Mexican currency fell to a record low against the dollar earlier this week, with $1 selling for over 25 pesos on Monday.

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin,” says Parra.

Photo: Leonardo Samran/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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Argentinian law ups female representation in live

The Argentinian government has implemented a new law that dictates that women must make up at least 30% of the line-up for festivals and other live music events.

The so-called “female quota” (cupo femenino), which will be implemented early next year, is the result of a two-year campaign by over 700 Argentinian musicians to obtain more gender parity at live music events.

The law aims to “achieve effective inclusion of women in live music by means of positive discrimination” and is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.

Organisers failing to comply with the quota will face a fine of up to 6% of the overall takings of the event. The ruling applies to any live music event consisting of three acts or more.

“From now on, access to the stage for women working in music is going to be fairer”

Approved by the senate in May, the law was pushed through the Argentinian chamber of deputies in November, with 133 votes in favour, five against and six abstentions. Argentina’s National Music Institute (Inamu) is responsible for ensuring festivals comply with the quota.

According to Daniel Filmus, president of the Argentinian Chamber of Deputies’ Culture Commission, the law is “an enormous conquest” that “has helped the advancement towards furthering the rights of women in music”.

Senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti, one of the principal supporters of the law, commented that “from now on, access to the stage for women working in music is going to be fairer”, thanking “all the women that make up the music scene” for their “tireless fight”.


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AGF champions eco-friendly events in South America

Live industry sustainability specialist A Greener Festival (AGF) recently teamed up with members of the Latin America music business to discuss how to reduce waste at live events.

Along with South American electronic music promoter Buenas Noches Producciones (BNP), eco-friendly organisation Bye Bye Plastic, which is run by DJ Blond:ish, and local environmental movement Voluntad Verde, AGF led an open, public discussion on how the electronic music industry can help tackle climate change and reduce waste generation – particularly plastics.

The session, which took place on 21 November in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, opened with a statement from BNP detailing the commitment of the electronic music scene to help fight climate change, via its ‘Dance and Recycle’ and ‘Respect’ campaigns. BNP also underwent a complete AGF-conducted Sustainability Assessment.

The free-to-attend event was directed towards attendees of BNP events, as the promoter looks to increase sustainability in the future.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there”

“We have been working hard to bring respect to the core of all elements of our events for years, including respect for our environment, our health, our peers, for everything,” comments Ivan Aballay, CEO and founder of Buenas Noches Producciones.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there. This powerful initiative, which brought together artists, staff and the local community, is just beginning. We have a lot more hard work ahead.”

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill adds that: “So often the discussion around sustainability is about limitation and lack. What we love about this inspiring collaboration is that it amplifies and enhances our combined energy to make a positive difference beyond the dancefloor.

“If the whole music industry took actions such as these surrounding gigs, the environmental benefits would be phenomenal.”

AGF is presenting the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 3 March in London. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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