Record demand for Taylor Swift’s Argentina debut
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is continuing to smash records after millions of people attempted to buy tickets for the singer’s first concerts in Argentina.
Promoter DF Entertainment says Swift’s 9-11 November dates at Buenos Aires’ 65,000-cap River Plate Stadium sold out in a matter of hours following “unprecedented” demand during this week’s onsale.
More than three million people were in the virtual queue to buy tickets at one point according to DF boss Diego Finkelstein, who tells IQ the “epic” accomplishment speaks for itself.
A third show was added after the first two nights sold out. Prices ranged from 18,000 (€69) to 86,000 (€328) Argentine pesos.
Founded by Finkelstein in 2015, DF inked an exclusive multi-year deal to promote concerts at the famed stadium, aka the ‘Monumental’, earlier this year. The company previously sold out a record 10 nights at the venue with Coldplay last year.
Swift’s November shows form part of her first round of international dates for the Eras Tour
DF has upcoming concerts with artists such as The Weeknd, Roger Waters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and 5 Seconds of Summer. Live Nation acquired a majority stake in the firm in 2018.
Swift’s November shows form part of her first round of international dates for the Eras Tour. The 33-year-old will also play three dates in Mexico’s Foro Sol stadium before visiting Argentina and Brazil, with a closing show on 26 November in São Paulo at Allianz Parque (cap. 43,713).
The Latin American dates will be supported by pop singer Sabrina Carpenter and produced by Taylor Swift Touring.
Eras is tipped to eclipse the superstar’s 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour, which became the US’ highest-grossing tour in history, selling over two million tickets for 38 shows for a total of $266.1 million. Swift has just over 20 dates remaining of the North American leg, which saw “historically unprecedented demand” when it went on sale last year.
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Argentina’s DF strikes exclusive stadium deal
Argentina’s DF Entertainment has inked an exclusive multi-year agreement to promote concerts at the famed Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires.
DF, which was founded in August 2015 by veteran concert promoter Diego Finkelstein, previously sold out an unprecedented 10 nights at the 65,000-cap stadium with Coldplay last year.
“We are very excited and happy about this news,” Finkelstein tells IQ. “River is known as the biggest and most emblematic stadium in Latin America and is a must-play for the biggest artists in the world.
“In 2022, DF Entertainment promoted the 10 sold-out Coldplay shows at River, which set a new record in the market, plus two sold-out Harry Styles shows and one sold-out Guns N’ Roses show. Very soon, we will announce the amazing acts who will be performing at River Plate Stadium in 2023 and the following years.”
DF also has upcoming shows in Argentina with the likes of The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons and Ludovico Einaudi
The national record previously belonged to Roger Waters, who played nine The Wall concerts at the “Monumental” venue in March 2012.
Buenos Aires-based DF also has upcoming shows in Argentina with the likes of The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons and Ludovico Einaudi. Live Nation acquired a majority stake in the firm in 2018.
A special live broadcast of Coldplay’s 28 October 2022 Buenos Aires concert was screened in cinemas in more than 80 countries – a record-breaking number of countries for a live cinema event – topping the box office charts in Argentina, Mexico, Chile amd Netherlands
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Coldplay make touring history in Argentina
Coldplay have made history in Argentina by completing an unprecedented 10-night sellout run at the 65,000-cap Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires.
The national record previously belonged to Roger Waters, who played nine shows at the legendary “Monumental” venue in March 2012 during his The Wall Live tour.
The British band’s Music Of The Spheres tour resumed in the Argentine capital on 25 October after a string of Brazilian tour dates were postponed until early 2023 when frontman Chris Martin contracted a serious lung infection.
“We have 10 sold-out dates at River Plate Stadium – that’s 650,000 tickets in one city – but I am not surprised because Coldplay have a huge connection with people in Argentina,” said local promoter Diego Finkelstein of Buenos Aires-based DF Entertainment in IQ‘s recent tour report.
“On the last tour, I had lunch with [Coldplay manager] Dave Holmes and told him that we could sell out 10 stadiums in Buenos Aires, but he was reluctant to commit to that many at the time. So when we went on sale, we went with four shows at River Plate and that was supposed to be the end of the tour leg, but the speed they sold out at was incredible, so I pushed for more.”
“It was incredible, but if we wanted, the demand was still there to sell even more dates”
The residency wrapped up with the 10th and final show on 8 November. Finkelstein explained that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar’s unusual November start date proved a blessing in disguise, bringing a halt to domestic football and freeing up River Plate Stadium.
“We invested $2m [€1.96m] in pitch protection to persuade the stadium to give us more dates,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get so many dates at River Plate, so we begged the band to extend the tour. On 24 May, we put shows five, six, and seven on sale and they blew out in one day. The following week we sold out shows eight and nine.
“The 10th show went on sale on 7 June and sold out in two hours. It was incredible, but if we wanted, the demand was still there to sell even more dates.”
A special live broadcast of the group’s 28 October Buenos Aires concert was screened in cinemas in more than 80 countries – a record-breaking number of countries for a live cinema event – topping the box office charts in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Netherlands, and breaking the top 10 worldwide across the weekend covering 28-30 October, according to Comscore.
“The band’s triumphant return to the stage in Buenos Aires, with the welcomed addition of Jin from BTS as a special guest, clearly resonated on a worldwide scale”
Directed by BAFTA-winning and Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale, the presentation saw the band team up once more with Trafalgar Releasing, which also served as executive producer alongside CJ 4DPlex.
“We are elated with the success of the broadcast, following our release of A Head Full of Dreams in 2018,” says Trafalgar Releasing CEO Marc Allenby. “The band’s triumphant return to the stage in Buenos Aires, with the welcomed addition of Jin from BTS as a special guest, clearly resonated on a worldwide scale and once again proved the power of cinema to bring fans together. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Coldplay team in 2023.”
The live event was supported by DHL, which has partnered with the band to reduce carbon emissions from their world tour.
“It’s such a groundbreaking tour in such a challenging market,” Coldplay agent Josh Javor of X-ray Touring told IQ earlier this year. “A lot of other things in the world are just not selling at the moment, but it’s completely bucked the trend.”
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Viva la musica!
With investment pouring in, demand for shows outstripping supply, and a raft of homegrown superstars emerging, is Latin America the hottest touring market in the world right now? Adam Woods reports.
When Latin artists blow up these days, they blow up fast. Move Concerts CEO Phil Rodriguez remembers a call from his Argentinian office in October 2019, relaying a request for artist management from a group of producers in Buenos Aires.
“I said, ‘I don’t think so, but send me what you got,’” he says. “And there was one kid named Tiago PZK, and he was really special. I shared it with some people. I even sent it to Ed Sheeran, who has an incredible ear for music and new talent. ‘Listen mate, what do you think?’ And he goes, ‘You know what, I can’t understand the words, but I can feel the kid.’ So I said, ‘Okay, let’s do something.’”
“We went on sale with an arena in Buenos Aires, we sold out in a half hour”
Not quite three years on, Tiago PZK’s singles generate YouTube views in the hundreds of millions, and the live roadshow is about to begin rolling in earnest.
“We went on sale with an arena in Buenos Aires, we sold out in a half hour,” says Rodriguez. “We had to announce a second date, sold that out, too. His debut album hasn’t even dropped, but he’s amazing live and we want to build on that.
“We announced the tour, we have 37 dates on the first leg including four or five in Spain and three showcases in the US. We’re doing Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, Paraguay, a lot of arenas plus a bunch of other dates. And that’s just an example of one artist that just blew up. And there’s quite a few.”
“Now there’s a lot of Latin acts that should really be called international Latin acts or something”
The growth of the Latin musical power base has been one of the most irresistible forces in global music in recent years, but it has been supercharged during pandemic times.
At the very top end, Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist on Spotify globally in 2020 and 2021, with Colombia’s J Balvin not far behind. Their collaborations with artists such as Drake and Cardi B have injected reggaetón into US urban pop at the highest level, while in the other direction, trap has infused Latin music from Mexico down to Argentina.
Also in serious global contention are numerous fellow Puerto Rican urban acts including “King of Modern Reggaetón” Rauw Alejandro and big-hitting singer-rapper-actor Ozuna, as well as Colombian stars like Karol G and Maluma and Argentinian trap artist Duki. And then there are the already established stars such as the retiring “King of Reggaetón” Daddy Yankee and the Despacito-wielding Luis Fonsi.
Latin America has always been a hotbed of regional music styles, from merengue and bachata to cumbia, flamenco and vallenato. It has also made many English-language stars, from Ricky Martin to Shakira to Camila Cabello. But never before has raw Latin music hit the global scene with such force, in such numbers, and so thoroughly on its own terms.
“There were Latin acts that were only famous in Latin countries, and they had a number of tickets to be sold and that was the market,” says Memo Parra, director of international talent at giant Mexican promoter Ocesa. “Now there’s a lot of Latin acts that should really be called international Latin acts or something. Suddenly other markets get the sense and taste of this music and they get into it.”
“In the old days, we were a bit of an after-thought, candidly”
The immediate significance for the Latin American live circuit is a major post-pandemic surge, driven by booming regional talent combined with an increasingly intrepid cohort of international acts, determined to sample every arena and stadium the region has to offer.
The past decade or so has seen a world-class upgrade of the region’s production capabilities and venue offering, while regional promoters, often working with international operators such as Move and Live Nation, have carved out an ever wider road for the world’s biggest touring acts.
“In the old days, we were a bit of an after-thought, candidly,” says Bruce Moran, president, Latin America at Live Nation, which has so far put on 99 shows this year in eleven Latin American countries – plenty in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, of course, but also Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and others.
“We are getting more shows and in more places,” he adds. “Once, an international act would only go to Rio and São Paulo when they came to Brazil, but we just concluded the Metallica run in Belo Horizonte; Harry Styles will finish his run in Curitiba.”
And, while a decade or two ago, a Latin American run might have consisted of five shows in total, these days there are far richer pickings. “We have ended up with three legs of the Coldplay tour, which adds up to 37 sold-out stadiums,” says Moran.
“Daddy Yankee is doing his farewell tour, he’s selling out stadiums everywhere”
The band has broken records everywhere: an unprecedented (for an international band) four Foro Sol stadiums in Mexico City in April; six Allianz Parques in São Paulo and ten River Plate Stadiums in Buenos Aires coming up in October and November. But Moran is particularly inclined to single out the fast-growing newer markets, namechecking local partners such as Saymon Díaz in Central America and Alberto Menacho in Peru.
“I’m almost more impressed by the two sell-outs in Bogotá, the two in Lima, the two in San José, Costa Rica,” he says. “You don’t expect that; it’s just unheard of.”
And just as post-pandemic Latin America is proving a fertile market for visiting stars, and Latin acts are becoming a truly mainstream force outside the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world, homegrown successes seem to be scoring bigger wins than ever across Latin markets as well.
“Daddy Yankee is doing his farewell tour, he’s selling out stadiums everywhere,” says Rodriguez. “Duki, he started with one Vélez stadium [José Amalfitani Stadium, 60,000-capacity home of Buenos Aires football team Vélez Sarsfield], and now he’s doing four. This is at the level of a Harry Styles, almost a Coldplay, and definitely above most Anglo artists that tour the region.”
There’s no avoiding the fact that Live Nation has cornered the market for M&A activity in Latin America in the past two or three years.
It wrapped up the long-delayed acquisition of a 51% stake in Ocesa from CIE and Grupo Televisa in December 2021, having purchased majority shares in Diego Finkelstein’s Argentinian market leader DF Entertainment in December 2018 and Chilean promoter Carlos Geniso’s DG Medios in December 2019. Both experienced promoters have remained on board.
Brazil is South America’s most vibrant market, and it is the most hotly contested. Live Nation operated in partnership with local powerhouse T4F there until 2017, when the deal expired, and Live Nation went out on its own under former T4F man Alexandre Faria.
“I think the next two years will be the best years”
Faria declares himself well pleased with 2022 so far and counts off his biggest tours on two hands, from Coldplay and Metallica to Harry Styles and Dua Lipa.
He estimates that Live Nation is the power player in Brazil in 2022, using the metric of major arena and stadium tours. “The other promoters are doing one or two tours,” he suggests. “We are doing eight or ten.”
But he also has faith that there is better to come. “I think the next two years will be the best years,” he says. “I don’t have visibility on ’24, but 2023 seems to me very strong, too.”
Move Concerts, headquartered in Miami, Florida, is Latin America’s largest independent, with offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and, of course, Puerto Rico – the last of these the source of much of the current Latin explosion.
“Our office in Puerto Rico is killing it – we’ve had 70% of all the shows in the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in 2022,” says Rodriguez. “We just sold out two arenas there with Karol G – over 24,000 tickets. We easily could have done two more arena dates there.”
“Most people in the business are going to be a little bit more careful next year”
Move shows this year include stadiums in Brazil for Iron Maiden and Michael Bublé – his first in the country – and a show at the Vélez with Green Day that sold out in three days. But Rodriguez cautions that this year may yet be a one-off.
“I think most people in the business are going to be a little bit more careful next year,” he says. “This year was an abnormality – many of the shows were rescheduled from 2020 and 2021, plus there was a pent-up appetite for concerts.
“2023 will be a huge challenge, with inflation, the labour shortage and supply challenges,” Rodriguez adds. “But so far this year, everything has come out strong. I mean, we just finished an almost four-week run of dates with Louis Tomlinson. In most places it started with half arenas, 4,000-seaters, and we ended up doing full arenas and multiple dates. The business doubled or tripled.
“And we’re having that with Arctic Monkeys and Interpol. In Peru, for instance, we were go- ing in for 20,000 [at the Lima Arena], thinking it was going to take us a while to sell it, but it blew out in the first day of sales – so, actually stronger than the last time they were in the market.”
“Our budgets are so far from the reality we had pre-pandemic. It is really hard to predict when all this craziness is going to stop”
Former T4F promoter Jose Muniz now operates as a pure independent under his revived Mercury Concerts brand, promoting in Brazil and across the continent. He identifies a particularly brutal character to this market.
“We have increasing competition, which makes every single tour a big battle among promoters,” he says. “The biggest challenge, though, is dealing with the escalating inflation and the fact that vendors are squeezing out everything they can from promoters. Our budgets are so far off from the reality we had pre-pandemic. It is really hard to predict when all this craziness is going to stop.”
But while a promoter’s share of the international talent trade is not always a lavish one, the shows themselves, needless to say, are doing good business.
“We are having a good year,” says Muniz. “We have just finished a nine-show tour with Kiss in South America, and the shows all sold out. We have an upcoming 16 shows in September and October with Guns N’ Roses in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Chile, and it seems we will sell out every single market. We also have tours with Eros Ramazzotti, Helloween, Boyce Avenue, Godsmack and Hanson.”
“River Plate is 65,000 capacity, and each of them sold out on the on-sale – show ten sold out in, like, two hours”
Argentina has long been one of South America’s more volatile markets, given its very much on- going record of dramatic inflation – rates haven’t been below 10% in a decade, and are tipped to end the year above 70%. But the country is still enjoying its share of the post-pandemic live boom.
At DF Entertainment, Finkelstein calculates 1.5m tickets sold so far this year and toasts 330,000 tickets sold for Lollapalooza Argentina, on top of highly successful visits from Maroon 5, Kiss, Dua Lipa, Metallica, Rosalía and GN’R, while looking forward to the first Argentinian edition of Primavera Sound and Coldplay’s record-breaking River Plate dates.
“River Plate is 65,000 capacity, and each of them sold out on the on-sale – show ten sold out in, like, two hours,” he says. “There’s no city that did it like Buenos Aires. It’s an absolute record. And actually it’s even bigger, because when Roger Waters played nine nights [in 2012], eight of them were seated. We have ten nights, all standing. And we only stopped at ten because the guys don’t have more dates available.”
Indeed, underlining the strength of demand among Argentine fans, at IQ‘s press time DF revealed that all presale stages for Lollapalooza 2023 sold out in one day – a record for the nation.
“It’s amazing the way the business came back in Mexico”
Mexico, too, is a monster market. In 2019, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) put concert revenues at around $225m (€216m), though the predicted 20% increase for 2020 clearly didn’t materialise. In 2022, however, the market is making up lost ground.
“It’s amazing the way the business came back in Mexico,” says Memo Parra. “It’s just really, really, really, really impressive, the amount of tickets and the time it takes for those tickets to be sold.
“What I was worried about was the amount of shows we had on the books and that the amount would be bigger than demand or that fans would need to decide which to buy tickets for. This year we have 94 stadium shows, and we are going to have 22 festivals.”
Ocesa’s grip on its local touring business is, if anything, more comprehensive than that of any other Latin American promoter – this year’s attractions include Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Iron Maiden, Justin Bieber, Rammstein, all sell-outs or well on their way. Regional Mexican band Grupo Firme, meanwhile, sold out five nights at the 65,000-cap Foro Sol. “That’s a lot of tickets,” notes Parra.
He is baffled at just where the spending power is coming from. “I don’t know because Mexico’s economics are not happy economics. Right now we have a huge inflation rate, like the rest of the world. There were no benefits during Covid times. People had to use their savings to survive.”
“Our industry is selling great – multiple shows and many shows selling out”
In Chile, promoters such as Live Nation’s DG Medios and local independent Lotus Producciones underpin one of South America’s sturdiest markets, and the bounce back has been powerful.
“We were only able to perform outdoor shows again in March, April 2022, with restrictions,” says DG’s Carlos Geniso. “So it’s going to be an atypical year. A record year for attendance because many of the shows scheduled in 2020 and 2021, plus the traffic of 2022, add up to a very large total in tickets sold – historical numbers.”
Likewise, Lotus director Sebastian De La Barra Cuevas echoes a familiar refrain.
“Our industry is selling great – multiple shows and many shows selling out,” he says. “We promoted the tenth anniversary of Lollapalooza Chile with a great line-up and a huge response from the audience, artists and fans. We have different shows announced and on sale right now, and all of them are selling great.
“Everyone is excited and buying tickets. The question is when this momentum will return to a pre-Covid tendency. So we have to be more cautious with our projections for 2023 and early 2024, as we think the market will adjust to lower sales.”
“Most artists, we have to wire the money way in advance, so there were a lot of shows that had been paid before the pandemic, but the ticket sales weren’t covering it”
Needless to say, there is far more to Latin America than the very biggest markets. Peru is an important stop, where active promoters include Move and Alberto Menacho’s Artes y Eventos. In Uruguay, the new Antel Arena has provided significant new capacity to busy promoters such as Gaucho and 3/Cuartos Producciones.
Colombia is also in the big leagues these days, with active promoters including Ocesa and Páramo Presenta. The capital, Bogotá, is inevitably the hub – with a recently renovated Movistar Arena and an entirely new 24,000-cap venue, Coliseo Live, opening in August – but there is strength in depth: as in Mexico, Daddy Yankee plays a full four cities across the country, also including Cali, Barranquilla and Medellín.
In Paraguay – an increasingly well-trodden stop-off between Brazil and Argentina – local promoter G5pro heads the market, selling around 80% of all concert tickets and staging the largest festivals, including Asunciónico, a joint production with DF Entertainment in Argentina.
“The thing with Paraguay, is it has been a really struggling country in financial terms, so our market is very last minute,” says G5pro founder and director Rodrigo Nogues. “It’s not like Brazil where you announce an event and you sell it out in a day.”
Consequently, in the pandemic, the lag between upfront costs and ticket revenues was particularly painful.
“Most artists, we have to wire the money way in advance, so there were a lot of shows that had been paid before the pandemic, but the ticket sales weren’t covering it. And we didn’t have a law like they had in Colombia, where promoters were not obliged to refund tickets, so we had to do that.”
“Of course, we try to get the biggest names, but the market is not ready yet”
All the same, Paraguay draws heat from the surging markets of its neighbours. “Since we are in the middle of Brazil and Chile and Argentina, usually the routing works,” says Nogues. “They usually get the weekend for the bigger acts, and we get the weekdays.”
Typically, the market remains more Spanish-oriented, though international traffic is increasing. “In November, we have Arctic Monkeys and Liam Gallagher. And, of course, we try to get the biggest names,” he says, pointing to Coldplay’s South American adventures, “but the market is not ready yet.”
Latin America has plenty of well-known festivals, including some of the world’s biggest, but the big news in recent years has been the rise of the touring festival brand. Lollapalooza established the template, taking root in Chile and Argentina over the past ten or so years in March and April, promoted by Lotus and DF Entertainment, respectively, in partnership with C3 Presents.
This year, aiming for a similar dominance to- wards the tail end of the calendar, is Barcelona’s well-loved Primavera Sound, which is staging an ambitious South American expansion with first editions in São Paulo (October 31 to November 6), Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires (both November 7 to 13).
“Every year, we have a lot of people coming from South America and Latin America to the festival in Barcelona,” says Primavera Sound chief innovation and corporate development officer Daniel Fletcher. “This seemed like an opportunity to work more closely with those markets.
“We have had plans to start doing things in South America for a long time,” he adds. “There is a circuit already established by Lollapalooza, and we realised there was a gap in the second half of the year for this type of event and that the markets in Chile, Argentina and Brazil are mature enough.”
“For us, it is very important, as we have Lollapalooza in the first semester”
International stars including Arctic Monkeys, Björk, Travis Scott and Lorde will play across all three events, which will also feature bands from all three cities as well as from Spain, home of Primavera.
Local partners are DF Entertainment in Argentina, Rock Stgo in Chile and Live Nation Brazil for São Paulo, and there will be Road to Primavera warm-up shows in Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile on the 14th and 16th October, starring Jack White, Pixies and Cat Power.
“For us, it is very important, as we have Lollapalooza in the first semester,” says Finkelstein. “There are a couple of months at the start of the year when you can do this type of event, and a couple of months at the end, and you can’t do it at other times because of holidays and because of the weather. And the great thing is that they don’t compete with each other at all.”
Other key Latin American festivals include the mighty Rock in Rio, which returns to its home city this year and will pioneer a new event called The Town in São Paulo in 2023.
“This week, I went on sale with one of the biggest festivals, Corona Capital. It has never been sold out. This time it was sold out on day one of the pre-sale”
In Mexico City, Ocesa’s 22-year-old rock festival, Vive Latino 2020, was the last large event before the pandemic, and it returned in March at full capacity across two days at the Foro Sol, with 80 bands on the bill, many of them Mexican, plus honorary Latinos including Limp Bizkit and Pixies.
As with headline shows, says Memo Parra, the festival business is remarkably buoyant. “This week, I went on sale with one of the biggest festivals, Corona Capital in Guadalajara,” says Parra. “It has never been sold out. This time it was sold out on day one of the pre-sale. 240,000 tickets, all gone. Yes, the line-up is better than past editions, but it’s not a huge difference. We have had Muse, Foo Fighters, Green Day, but I never sold it out.”
Elsewhere, virtually every country has acquired the festival habit over the years. In Colombia, alternative festival Estéreo Picnic has flourished in Bogotá over the past decade, and the same city’s long-established free rock festival, Rock al Parque, returns to the Parque Simon Bolivar in late November, where it traditionally attracts around 400,000 people.
Many festival names disappeared with the pandemic, while others have rebounded. In addition to Lollapalooza and Primavera, Argentina has Cosquín Rock, while Chile offers Creamfields and Fauna Producciones’ alternative Otoño and Primavera Fauna festivals. Other Mexican events include Apodaca’s Pal’ Norte in Monterrey and Eco Live/Ocesa’s Latin avant-pop festival Ceremonia in Mexico City.
Latin America’s greatest venues – Mexico City’s Foro Sol, River Plate in Buenos Aires, São Paulo’s Allianz Parque – are internationally synonymous with huge crowds and frenzied good times.
Outside Latin America’s leading markets, too, new venues are making all the difference. Uruguay is benefiting from its new ASM Global venue, the Antel Arena in Montevideo, which has hosted Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz, Argentinian rockers La Beriso and Latin-ska veterans Los Auténticos Decadentes in recent months, as well as Louis Tomlinson.
Buenos Aires also has a new ASM Global venue, the 15,000-cap Movistar Arena. The venue hit the ground running in late 2019 before promptly shutting down to Covid. It managed a couple of months of shows in 2020 and reopened again with a packed calendar in September 2021.
“Colombia is on the circuit now, for sure”
Likewise, in Bogotá, the re-emergence of the former Coliseo Cubierto El Campín as the Movistar Arena in 2018, operated by Colombiana de Escenarios – a joint venture between Movistar Arena Chile owner HLR Group and Colombian ticketing market leader Tu Boleta – has given the country a vital stop for international and Latin tours, taking around 90 shows a year, including Rosalía, Kiss, and Miley Cyrus in 2022.
“Colombia is on the circuit now, for sure,” says Movistar Arena Bogotá general manager Luis Guillermo Quintero. “It’s very close to the US, very close to Mexico. It’s real normal that an artist performs in Mexico City then comes to Bogotá, then goes to Santiago Chile, Buenos Aires, São Paulo.
“Before we opened, there was no venue like this in Colombia. And now we have a venue that can receive international artists without any issue. After Kiss played in South America, they told us that performing here in Colombia was the easiest venue to handle, in terms of operation.”
During the pandemic, the Movistar Arena was Colombia’s main vaccine centre, receiving almost 2m people. “At least we paid the bills,” says Quintero.
Elsewhere across the continent, Live Nation is working with Oak View Group and GL Events on a 20,000-cap arena in São Paulo, due to open in 2024. Chile, too, has a thriving ASM-operated Movistar Arena, and Geniso suggests that the Pan American Games, which will be held in Chile in the last quarter of 2023, may leave behind some venues suitable for concert use.
LN strengthens Latam presence with DG Medios stake
Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in independent Chilean concert promoter DG Medios, as the live entertainment behemoth further strengthens its foothold in Latin America.
IQ calculates that Live Nation has taken a majority shareholding in 19 promoters, festivals and other live music-related businesses worldwide this year.
Santiago-based DG Medios, which was founded by well known regional promoter Carlos Geniso, sold over 330,000 tickets last year and has promoted shows by U2, Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber.
“DG Medios is another important step in expanding our footprint across Latin America”
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the promoter is one of a number of local players, along with Lotus and Bizarro, that contribute to “the health of Chile’s live music market”.
Live Nation has co-promoted with DG Medios owner Geniso, who will continue to oversee all operations at the company, for tours by the likes of Bon Jovi, Bruno Mars, Phil Collins, Depeche Mode and Harry Styles.
Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino says he is “thrilled to be in business with legendary Chilean promoter Carlos Geniso”, adding that, “DG Medios is another important step in expanding our footprint across Latin America.”
Geniso comments that: “Teaming up with Live Nation will give us access to resources that will be instrumental in growing our substantial roster of shows even further. The DG Medios team and I are excited to provide even more memorable experiences for fans.”
Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector
The past 12 months have seen big-money deals by global firms who have been expanding their reach through buying up existing companies.
Eventim’s major expansion into the €800 million French live music market will see it establish a joint venture with the retailer by the end of 2019. Under the proposed new structure, Eventim would acquire 48% of France Billet, with an option to increase its holding to a majority stake over the next four years. It is folding its Eventim French business into the partnership, and the established brands – which in addition to Francebillet.com include Fnacspectacles.com and Billetreduc.com – will remain in operation.
This move will be a blow for Paris-headquartered multimedia conglomeration Vivendi, which owns the local company Digitick and was the third-largest competitor behind France Billet and Ticketmaster.
Leapfrogging its rivals, Eventim has secured the top position in the ticketing space. However, it currently does not have a promoter presence in France, unlike Live Nation or Vivendi, the latter of which owns the venues L’Olympia (1,996-cap.) and Theâtre de L’Œuvre (326-cap.) in Paris, as well as Olympia Production, the operator of a number of French festivals including Les Déferlantes (12,000-cap.) and Garorock (45,000-cap.).
In 2017-18, Eventim bought three significant promoters in Italy – Vertigo, Friends and Partners, and D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) – solidifying its brand TicketOne as the dominant ticketer in the country after Ticketmaster opened operations there in 2017.
On the other side of the world, Live Nation Entertainment’s (LNE) $480m decision to buy a 51% stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the largest promoter in Latin America, and owner of Ticketmaster Mexico, is noteworthy.
Promoting about 3,100 shows a year, Ocesa reportedly sold 3.8m tickets in 2018. Ticketmaster Mexico is comfortably the country’s biggest ticket seller, with around 37m tickets sold each year.
While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint
While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership through touring, festivals and the Ticketmaster brand, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint.
It demonstrates LNE’s growing confidence in the Latin American market and will likely lead to an increasing number of tours by international talent to the continent, and potentially further acquisitions of promoters, ticketing companies or venues.
What impact it will have on Ticketmaster in the US, where the second language is Spanish, remains to be seen. The Spanish- language market in the US is arguably currently underserved, and this could be seen as an internal growth opportunity for the global behemoth.
But more importantly, this could be part of a wider move by LNE into Latin America, where the firm historically has no major presence. Last year it acquired one of Argentina’s top promoters, DF Entertainment, while earlier in 2018, it took a stake in one of the largest music festivals in the world, Rock in Rio (100,000-cap), recently increasing its holding to 60%, which could be a sign that Ticketmaster is preparing to make a move into Brazil. Does this indicate a strategy of expansion across the region? We’ll have to wait and see.
LNE-owned Ticketmaster also bought Australia and New Zealand’s most significant independent ticketing company, Moshtix, in February, further expanding its presence in a market where it competes fiercely with TEG’s Ticketek.
Although it’s not likely to shift the balance of power, Ticketmaster’s move will add another indie brand to its suite of ticketing platforms.
Meanwhile, TEG grew its Asian reach by buying the Philippines-based ticketing company TicketWorld. This adds to its existing interests in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau. As well as major international tours by the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Katy Perry, TicketWorld has a strong presence in the local theatre market, and provides ticket services to Philippines’ venues including Solaire Resort and Casino, Resorts World Manila, BGC Arts Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further
“We see great opportunities in many Asian markets and our strategy puts us on course to becoming a truly pan-Asian promoter,” said TEG CEO Geoff Jones at the time.
While not strictly new acquisitions, DEAG continued its policy of wholly owning companies by completing the purchase of the MyTicket platform, which going forward will be powered by the Secutix SaaS solution, while Eventim completed its takeover of German online movie ticketing platform Kinoheld and Scandinavian ticketing solution Venuepoint.
So what’s next? In the fast-moving world of ticketing, it’s hard to say.
India’s BookMyShow sells some 20m tickets a month, mainly in the cinema sector, but is looking to grow further into live entertainment. In 2018, COO of non-films at BookMyShow Albert Almeida told the Economic Times the firm wants to increase its revenues from non-cinema events from 30% to 50% by 2020.
It is one of the ticketing partners at the newly opened Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and is addressing a lack of infrastructure in its home country by building its touring venues and producing its own shows. At a recent fundraising round, the company was valued at $1 billion, and there is still huge potential in the country of 1.3bn people. But maybe it will look to acquire in new markets, or further consolidate its position in the Middle East.
Another interesting area is the growing trend of Chinese companies taking an interest in Western music companies (for example, Tencent acquired a 10% stake in Universal Music, with an option to take another 10% in a year). Could we see a Chinese firm take an interest in a ticketing company outside of its homeland?
What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further.
For more insight into the state of the global ticketing industry, read IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.
Live Nation acquires Argentina’s DF Entertainment
Live Nation has found time for one further corporate takeover before the year’s end, capping off its most acquisition-heavy 12 months to date by buying a majority stake in Argentine promoter DF Entertainment.
Buenos Aires-based DF, founded in August 2015 by veteran concert promoter Diego Finkelstein, sold more than 500,000 tickets to its concerts and festivals in 2018. The company has worked with Live Nation on several co-promotions over the past three years, including shows by Coldplay, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Ariana Grande and Phil Collins.
In partnership with Live Nation-owned C3 Presents, DF Entertainment is also the promoter and ticketing provider of the local edition of Live Nation’s Lollapalooza festival, Lollapalooza Argentina.
“The demand for concerts and live events across South America has never been higher”
“The demand for concerts and live events across South America has never been higher, and the local insight of Diego and the DF Entertainment team will help us connect more artists and fans throughout Argentina than ever before,” says Live Nation’s president and CEO, Michael Rapino.
“DF Entertainment has proven to be an amazing partner and the premier promoter in Argentina, and we’re glad to have them join the Live Nation family after many years working together.”
“Argentina’s live music industry continues to flourish, and together with Live Nation, so will DF Entertainment,” adds Finkelstein. “I’m very proud of our team and can’t wait to see our event line-up grow even more with the support and resources of Live Nation behind us.”