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Ocesa director on what’s next for Latin America

Ocesa festival director Leizer Guss has spoken to IQ about the explosive growth of Latin music in 2022 and what’s next for the genre.

Recent news of Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny becoming the highest-grossing touring artist in a calendar year was the cherry on top of a year that has seen Latin stars break records across the board but as Guss points out, none of it happened overnight.

“I think it’s just the product of all the hard work all of the teams and artists have put in over the years,” he tells IQ. “It’s definitely not an overnight success, it’s just a matter of working effectively on the songs, live shows, albums and concepts and connecting with people.”

Though Bad Bunny has undoubtedly stolen the show in 2022, there are a number of Latin artists that are hot on his heels.

Karol G, Tiago PZK, Quevedo and Eladio Carrion are all contenders to be Latin America’s next superstar, according to the likes of Bruce Moran (Live Nation Latin America) and Phil Rodriguez (Move Concerts) and Guss has his own opinions.

“If I had to speculate I would say Rauw Alejandro. He has a unique energy, voice, vibe and an amazing team around him. We started working with him at Coca-Cola Flow Fest many years and are very excited and happy about the way he has grown as a live performer and artist.”

“I think there will at least be another wave of headliners that grow before the sound plateaus”

Coca-Cola Flow Fest takes place annually in Mexico City and is Ocesa’s flagship festival for the Latin urban sound. The last edition took place in November with headliners J Balvin, Anuel AA, Don Omar and Nicky Jam but it’s the artists slightly lower on the bill that Guss is excited about.

“Our Coca-Cola Flow Fest properties still have a very strong middle line and I think there will at least be another wave of headliners that grow before the sound plateaus,” he says.

“And I think the bonafide artists that come from the scene will keep pushing boundaries, exploring new sounds and recruiting new fans. I think it’s truly remarkable how most of the scene sticks together as if they truly understand that someone else’s success will pave the way for their own through collaborations and features.”

Alongside Coca-Cola Flow Fest, Ocesa’s festival portfolio includes Corona Capital, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Mexico, Live Latino, Imperial GNP and new festival The World Is A Vampire.

“Almost all of my festivals on sale are well and healthy… for now it looks like 2023 will be a good year,” says Guss. “The business grew in 2022 and I think 2023 will bring an opportunity to consolidate festival fans and try to convince them to mix their musical taste and try new things.”

As for the challenges that lie ahead, Guss says that Live Nation-owned Ocesa, which also owns Ticketmaster Mexico, is prepared for what’s in store.

“2022 was a record year because of the high amount of acts that hadn’t toured and the ‘thirst’ the fans had for gathering, celebrating and enjoying life,” he says. “As the industry levels again we will find where new consumption trends, the economy and the supply of touring artists leave us. We’re up to the challenge for sure.”

 


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The Weeknd expands After Hours Til Dawn stadium tour

The Weeknd is continuing his After Hours Til Dawn stadium tour with newly announced legs in Europe and Latin America.

The Canadian singer-songwriter-producer (real name Abel Tesfaye) recently concluded his record-breaking North America leg, which grossed over US$130 million to date.

The next leg of the After Hours Til Dawn Tour will kick off 10 June 2023 at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium in the UK, with stops in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and more before wrapping up in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday 15 October at Estadio Bicentenario de La Florida. Additional 2023 dates will be announced soon.

Kaytranada and Mike Dean will join the CAA-repped singer on all European dates. The outing is in support of The Weeknd’s 2020 album After Hours, as well as his critically-acclaimed album Dawn FM, which was released in January this year.

The Weeknd’s global After Hours til Dawn tour was originally scheduled in 2020 (when it was just the After Hours tour) to hit 105 arena dates beginning June 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic – first to 2021 then January 2022 and then summer 2022.

The singer recently concluded his record-breaking North America leg, which grossed over US$130 million to date

In October 2021, the singer/producer broke the news that he was nixing the 104-date arena trek in favour of stadiums, saying “I want to do something bigger and special for you which requires more stadiums”.

For the second leg of the After Hours Til Dawn Tour, Tesfaye – a United Nations World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador – will once again partner with the U.N. World Food Programme to contribute funds from the second leg of the tour to the XO Humanitarian Fund, which supports the organisation’s response to the global hunger crisis.

One Euro from each ticket sold across Europe, £1 in the UK and the $1 equivalent in countries across Latin America will go to this important cause. The fund raised money during the North American leg of the tour through ticket sales, proceeds from an exclusive tour t-shirt, and a $500,000 donation directly from The Weeknd.

The Weeknd’s corporate partners, tour venues, World Food Program USA board of directors and supporters also stepped up to contribute, as well as tour sponsor Binance, who contributed US$2m to the fund. The first grant of $2m will be going to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to the most food-insecure regions of Ethiopia.

The After Hours Til Dawn tour is powered by Binance, the global blockchain ecosystem behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, bringing Web 3.0 technology to concert-goers worldwide.

Ticket holders receive souvenir NFTs in addition to access to an exclusive NFT collection for The Weeknd’s tour, in collaboration with HXOUSE, a think-center and community incubator for creative entrepreneurs. Five percent of the sales from the upcoming tour NFT collection will be donated to the XO Humanitarian Fund.

AFTER HOURS TIL DAWN TOUR 2023 EUROPE TOUR DATES:

Sat Jun 10 – Manchester, UK – Etihad Stadium

Wed Jun 14 – Horsens, Denmark – Nordstern Arena

Sat Jun 17 – Stockholm, Sweden – Tele2 Arena

Tue Jun 20 – Oslo, Norway – Telenor Arena

Sat Jun 24 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Johan Cruijiff ArenA

Wed Jun 28 – Dublin, Ireland – Marlay Park

Sun Jul 2 – Hamburg, Germany – Volkspark Stadium

Tue Jul 4 – Dusseldorf, Germany – Merkur Spiel Arena

Fri Jul 7 – London, UK– London Stadium

Tue Jul 11 – Brussels, Belgium – King Baudouin Stadium

Fri Jul 14 – Frankfurt, Germany – Deutsche Bank Park

Tue Jul 18 – Madrid, Spain – Cívitas Metropolitano

Thu Jul 20 – Barcelona, ​​Spain – Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium

Sat Jul 22 – Nice, France – Allianz Riviera

Wed Jul 26 – Milan, Italy – Ippodromo La Maura

Sat Jul 29 – Paris, France – Stade de France

Tue Aug 1 – Bordeaux, France – Matmut Atlantique

Fri Aug 4 – Munich, Germany – Olympic Stadium

Sun Aug 6 – Prague, Czech Republic – Letnany Airport

Wed Aug 9 – Warsaw, Poland – PGE Narodowy

Sat Aug 12 – Tallinn, Estonia – Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

AFTER HOURS TIL DAWN TOUR 2023 LATIN AMERICA TOUR DATES:

Fri Sep 29 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro Sol

Wed Oct 4 – Bogotá, Colombia – El Campín Stadium

Sat Oct 7 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Nilton Santos Engenhão Stadium

Tue Oct 10 – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Allianz Parque

Fri Oct 13 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – San Isidro Racetrack

Sun Oct 15 – Santiago, Chile – La Florida Bicentennial Stadium

 


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ILMC 35 announces Latin America focus

The 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will have a unique focus on the Latin American market, supported by many of the region’s top companies and professionals.

“With huge audiences, record attendances, and homegrown talent now topping international box office charts, the Latin market is exploding right now,” reads a statement from the organisers. “And in March 2023, ILMC will see many of the market’s key players on hand to meet, network, and discuss.”

Under the banner Latin Live 2023, the programme at ILMC 35 will include dedicated conference debate and Q&As, a networking and information area, a Meet & Greet Happy Hour, and unique content relating to the region published in ILMC’s conference guide, with more to be announced.

Additionally, this year’s ILMC Gala Dinner will take place as the ILMC Gala Fiesta & Arturo Awards, taking delegates on a journey to the Caribbean and the home of reggaeton for the industry’s best-loved awards evening.

Latin Live is supported by Loud & Live, Grand Move, and Ocesa.

ILMC Spa & Last Resort will welcome over 1,200 of the world’s top live music professionals from over 40 countries to the recently upgraded Royal Lancaster Hotel in London from 28 Feb – 3 March 2023.

Full information about the conference is at 35.ilmc.com.

 


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Latin music execs share bullish 2023 forecasts

A handful of Latin music executives have shared their 2023 forecasts, off the back of a seminal year for both the market and its homegrown stars.

“Latin America has seen historic record-breaking ticket sales in 2022,” Bruce Moran, president of Latin America at Live Nation, tells IQ.

Coldplay alone has set sales records in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, and Argentina. The pace of sales, the number of shows and the multiple-show engagement have never ever been seen before in the region. The success of the concert industry in Latin America has been unprecedented, spectacular and, for me, career-affirming.”

Moran says only time will tell if 2023 will exceed the stratospheric success of 2022, but he’s certain it’ll be another fantastic year for the Latin American business.

“Live Nation Latin America is poised already to have a strong 2023,” he says. “The unfortunate postponement of Coldplay’s 2022 sold-out Brazil run unexpectedly resulted in significantly greater sales for the rescheduled dates in 2023, as we moved into a larger Sao Paulo venue due to availability and also to the addition of two Curitiba sellouts to the run.

“The pace of sales, the number of shows and the multiple-show engagement have never ever been seen before in the region”

“In addition to the Backstreet Boys, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Motley Crue/Def Leppard all confirmed and on sale, we are poised to add a whole host of other events to the 2023 concert calendar.”

Move Concerts CEO Phil Rodriguez, meanwhile, is bullish about the continued growth of the market and the genre in 2023, adding: “Without a doubt, this genre is here to stay and grow and expand, just like hip-hop did.

“We will be announcing various tours for 2023 within the next month but so far what we have on sale is doing great – we just went up with Jack Johnson dates in Brazil for January and it is selling stronger than the last time in 2017. In Puerto Rico, we have seven arena dates sold out with Arcangel plus two sold-out stadium shows at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium with Karol G.”

Both Rodriguez and Moran recently told IQ that Karol G would be Latin America’s next superstar, soon after her recent $trip Love outing became the highest-grossing US tour by a female Latin act in history.

Star artists, such as Karol G, will largely dictate Latam’s growth in 2023, according to Carlos Geniso of Chilean promoter DG Medios.

“Without a doubt, this genre is here to stay and grow and expand, just like hip-hop did”

“The market is in constant growth, sometimes at a moderate pace and at other times, depending on the impact generated by the artist, it can be much higher,” he tells IQ. “If an artist launches a hit, they will have a great impact in the media and great rotation on digital platforms. Then a tour and press actions can be added, therefore the growth will go up even faster.”

Geniso has also reported strong ticket sales for 2023 concerts from the likes of Imagine Dragons, Def Leopard, Motley Crue, Big Time Rush and Backstreet Boys.

The latter will perform in February at the Sausalito Stadium in Viña del Mar, a city northwest of Santiago, which Geniso says “promotes the decentralisation of concerts in the Chilean capital, where all major events are held”.

Live Nation’s Moran also notes the opportunity to develop lesser-toured cities in Latin America, adding: “As our industry and as touring artists continue to recognise the wonder of the region and its audiences, we have more opportunities to expand the map.

“The longer an artist devotes to the Latin American region, the more cities we can include in a Latin American tour. Many touring artists in the recent past did not often venture to Belo Horizonte or Curitiba, Quito or Guatemala City or many other important sites that they do now. We are proud to work to bring more shows to more cities than ever before.”

Read more about Latin America’s rising stars and burgeoning touring market in IQ‘s recent market report.

 


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Latin music executives predict next superstar

Some of the biggest executives in the Latin music industry have shared their predictions for acts that will break through on an international level.

2022 has been a seminal year for Latin America’s homegrown superstars, led by trap reggaeton artist-come-global superstar, Bad Bunny.

With the Puerto Rican star paving the way for others, IQ asked Bruce Moran (Live Nation Latin America), Phil Rodriguez (Move Concerts) and Carlos Geniso (DG Medios) who might be following in his footsteps.

“The world is ready for a female reggaeton superstar, and in my personal opinion she might be Karol G,” Bruce Moran, president of Latin America at Live Nation, tells IQ.

“Although she is known for her work in reggaeton and trap, she does perform in other genres like sertaneja and more. Her live shows are the stuff of current legend. We think Karol G may be “the next (really) big thing.”

“The world is ready for a female reggaeton superstar, and in my personal opinion she might be Karol G”

Just yesterday (9 October), Karol G’s live legacy was immortalised after her recent $trip Love outing became the highest-grossing US tour by a female Latin act in history.

The Colombian singer-songwriter grossed US$69.9 million across 33 arena shows in North America, during September and October, according to Billboard‘s Boxscore.

The 31-year-old, whose real name is Carolina Giraldo Navarro, is represented worldwide by Jbeau Lewis and Ryan Soroka at UTA, and managed by Noah Assad who also looks after Bad Bunny.

Karol G is also the name on Phil Rodriguez’s lips, who says: “Great talent, top line management. On her next tour she will be moving up to stadium level in various markets.”

The Move Concerts CEO also gave an honourable mention to “other new artists bubbling up such as Tiago PZK, Quevedo [20-year-old Spanish rapper], Eladio Carrion [27-year-old, Grammy Award-nominated American-Puerto Rican rapper] and others that are establishing themselves at arena level such as Rauw Alejandro [29-year-old Puerto Rican singer]”.

Earlier this year, Rodriguez discussed Tiago PZK’s burgeoning career with IQ, saying tickets to see the 21-year-old Argentine rapper and singer were flying off the shelf.

“We went on sale with an arena in Buenos Aires, we sold out in a half hour”

“We went on sale with an arena in Buenos Aires, we sold out in a half hour,” said 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.”

Tiago is now part-way through his 37-date Portales tour – his first-ever – which comprises a mix of arena dates in Latin America, as well as clubs in Spain, England and the US.

The rising star signed to Warner Music Latina earlier this year via a partnership with Rodriguez’s Grand Move Records label.

The Move Concerts boss manages Tiago, while Agustina Cabo, one of IQ’s 2022 New Bosses, is his personal and tour manager.

While Rodriguez and Moran are betting on younger and newer artists to break through, Carlos Geniso of Chilean promoter DG Medios is hedging his bets with more established artists.

“There are many Latin artists who will be presenting new material next year and who will be touring again with world tours,” he tells IQ. “For example, Alejandro Sanz and Pablo Alborán are always a hit in Chile and sell-out venues. They have a loyal fan base that always follows them, and they are very well-liked.

“Another very important artist is Fito Paez, who is celebrating 30 years of his most successful album “El amor después del amor” – a milestone for rock music in Spanish. In addition, urban artists are in a spectacular moment for their rising careers, and I think that’s where we have to put the eye.”

Sanz, a Spanish musician, singer and composer, has already won 22 Latin Grammy Awards and four Grammy Awards, while fellow Spaniard singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán has got five studio albums under his belt. Fito Páez, meanwhile, is a 59-year-old Argentine popular rock and roll pianist, lyricist, singer-songwriter and film director.

Read more about Latin America’s rising stars and burgeoning touring market in IQ‘s recent market report.

 


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Iron Maiden top 120k ticket sales for Brazil shows

Iron Maiden drew more than 120,000 fans across three sold-out stadium dates in Brazil as part of their Legacy of the Beast World Tour in August and September.

Move Concerts promoted the band’s 25,000-cap shows at Pedreira Paulo Leminski, Curitiba and Ribeirão Preto’s Eurobike Arena in August, followed by a 60,000-cap gig at São Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium on 4 September.

The metal legends also performed a standalone 100,000-cap headline show on the first weekend of Rock in Rio’s 2022 edition on 2 September.

“Iron Maiden is a phenomenon in Brazil”

“Iron Maiden is a phenomenon in Brazil,” says Phil Rodriguez, CEO of Move Concerts. “They are one of the elite few artists that have maintained stadium level business for over 37 years.”

The region’s biggest independent promoter, Move is headquartered in Miami, Florida, and has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Puerto Rico. The company appointed Tiago Maia as managing director of its Brazil team in May and also bolstered its marketing and finance departments team.

“Brazil is the one country in the region with the strongest economic indicators and projected stability,” Rodriguez told IQ last month.

Iron Maiden’s Brazilian tour was sponsored by Porto Seguro Bank. The sponsors of the band’s sets in Ribeirão Preto and São Paulo were Black Princess and TNT Energy Drink. Bodebrown as a Craft beer sponsor for Curitiba. The city’s Hospital Sancta Maggiore was the official supplier for the São Paulo date, along with support from NewOn.

The Legacy of the Beast World Tour, which began in 2018, continued at Mexico City’s Foro Sol on 7 September before kicking off its climactic US and Canada leg with a night at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas last night.

 


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Latam’s largest multipurpose arena opens

The largest multipurpose arena in Latin America opened earlier this month in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá.

The 24,000-capacity Coliseo Live (Colosseum Live) was inaugurated on 12 August with a concert by salsa superstar Marc Anthony.

Other artists slated to perform at the arena in 2022 include Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Daddy Yankee, Ana Gabriel and Ricardo Arjona.

Alongside concerts, the venue (formerly Arena Bogotá) will also host corporate, sports, gastronomic, family events and 360 events.

The previous incarnation of the arena was acquired in 2019 by Henry Cárdenas, president and executive director of US-based promoter Cárdenas Marketing Network (CNM).

Cárdenas also leads Cárdenas Entertainment and Marketing Group (CEMG), founded in 2018 to manage the Arena Bogotá/Coliseo Live project.

“I have dreamed of a scenario that would have nothing to envy of the great arenas that exist in first-world countries”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Colombia-born Cárdenas says he made a “multimillion-dollar investment” in the arena.

“For many years I have dreamed of a scenario that would have nothing to envy of the great arenas that exist in first-world countries, and that is what we bet on,” says Cárdenas.

“I am proud to say that Coliseo Live will surprise all its visitors, placing within their reach, among other things, more than 750 square meters of LED and circumferential screens used in games such as the NBA, a unique and safer ticketing system, suites and boxes of luxury with personalised food and beverage service, air handling units that reduce the probability of contagion of infectious diseases, among other innovations never seen before in Colombia.”

Located in the municipality of Cota, to the west of the capital city, Colieso Live occupies a million-square-foot (93,000m²) site on Calle 80 (80th Street).

The new arena is less than 15 kilometres from Colombia’s first-ever arena, the Movistar Arena (cap. 15,000), which hosts around 90 shows per year.

Read more about Bogotá, and Colombia’s burgeoning live music industry, in IQ Magazine‘s recent feature on Latin America.

 


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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.”

Promoters

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.”

Festivals

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.

Venues

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.

 


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Move Concerts’ Phil Rodriguez on the LatAm factor

Move Concerts boss Phil Rodriguez has praised the resilience of the Latin American market after the firm surpassed projections for its rescheduled shows so far this year.

The region’s biggest independent promoter, Move has enjoyed a fruitful 2022 to date, capped by shows by the likes of Bad Bunny, Louis Tomlinson and Argentine rapper Tiago PZK, who is also managed by Rodriguez.

“2022 kicked off great for us.” Rodriguez tells IQ. “As soon as restrictions were dropped, the demand kicked in immediately and the appetite has been strong across the board.

“Like many others we had shows from 2020 and 2021 that were rescheduled and they ended up selling more tickets than originally projected.”

“Puerto Rico has been selling out consistently and shows no sign of slowing down”

Standout tours have included A-ha, who sold 74,500 tickets across nine dates in three countries, and Louis Tomlinson, who sold 126,000 tickets over 14 concerts in nine countries. Bad Bunny’s three-night stand in his native Puerto Rico from 28-30 June, meanwhile, was a blowaway triumph both on and off the stage.

“Puerto Rico has been selling out consistently and shows no sign of slowing down,” says Rodriguez. “We just co-promoted with Noah Assad three sold-out dates at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico [cap. 18,500] with Bad Bunny in San Juan that paralysed the island as the show was streamed live to 13 municipalities for free. It is estimated over 500,000 people saw the show between the Coliseo and the free transmissions.”

Move Concerts is headquartered in Miami, Florida, and has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Puerto Rico.

“Coming up we have, among many shows in a busy second semester: three stadium dates in Brazil with Iron Maiden – all sold out, over 120,000 tickets; Justin Bieber with three stadium dates; Green Day with Billy Idol at Velez Sarsfield Stadium in Buenos Aires – sold out; seven dates with Michael Bublé including his first stadium dates in South America – two nights at Allianz Stadium in Sao Paulo – and Arctic Monkeys with Interpol.

“If there’s anything we promoters are in LatAm, it’s that we’re resilient and used to navigating through storms!”

Rodriguez says Chile is last country in the territory to eliminate Covid restrictions, with the Movistar Arena (17,000) in Santiago still subject to a 75% capacity limit. Aside from that, the promoter lists the biggest challenges as “currency devaluations across all LatAm countries, significant increase in costs and labour shortages”.

Move appointed Tiago Maia as managing director of its Brazil team in May and bolstered its marketing and finance departments team with the addition of Igor Ismail (assistant to marketing director Karen Pedroso) and Rodrigo Moura (finance manager).

“Brazil is the one country in the region with the strongest economic indicators and projected stability,” he adds. “I can only hope that inflation eases up a bit and the devaluations also moderate and we move away from the abrupt swings we’ve had recently. That said, if there’s anything we promoters are in LatAm, it’s that we’re resilient and used to navigating through storms!”

“It is amazing considering we signed Tiago PZK to management a little less than two years ago”

He also shares his pride at the progress of Tiago PZK, who signed to Warner Music Latina earlier this year via a partnership with Rodriguez’s Grand Move Records label. The star kicked off his Portales Tour in July with two sell-out hometown shows at Movistar Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sold-out dates then followed in Uruguay at Montevideo’s Antel Arena and in Paraguay at the SND Arena.

“The tour continues this week through the interior of Argentina and then onwards, with 36 dates total on the first leg, which will also cover Chile, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain, the UK – a London date after Spain in October – the US and Mexico,” adds Rodriguez. “Looking back, it is amazing considering we signed Tiago PZK to management a little less than two years ago.”

Rodriguez was also interviewed for our Latin America feature in the latest issue of IQ.

PHOTO (L-R): Sebastian Carlomagno (management), Phil Rodriguez, Tiago PZK, Alejandro Duque (president, Warner Music Latin).

 


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Here and queer: IQ Magazine’s Pride edition has arrived

IQ 112, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online and in print now.

The July 2022 issue sees the return of IQ Magazines annual Pride issue, which was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster.

Once again, the Pride issue’s marquee feature is the LGBTIQ+ List which profiles 20 queer professionals making an impact in the international live music business and beyond. This year’s top 20, which were announced yesterday, share their challenges, triumphs, advice and email addresses with us in the bumper feature.

Issue 112 also sees the return of the Loud & Proud playlist and feature, in which our agency partners profile some of the most exciting queer acts on their rosters. Contributing agencies include 13 Artists, ATC Live, CAA, FMLY, Hometown Talent, Progressive Artists, Wasserman Music, and X-ray Touring.

More recommendations for queer artists are shared in Your Shout, where executives including Rauha Kyyrö (Fullsteam), Raven Twigg (Metropolis Music), Paul Bonham (MMF) reveal the best queer act they’ve seen live.

Elsewhere, Pride editor Lisa Henderson speaks to executives working in the LGBTIQ+ events space to find out more about the economic and social value of the pink pound.

For this edition’s columns and comments, DICE’S Nix Corporan outlines ways the live music industry could make concerts safer and more inclusive for queer fans. In addition, Hatice Arici details the ramifications for the LGBTIQ+ community in Turkey, following the shutdown of Istanbul Pride.

Beyond the Pride-specific content, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson learns how the freight and transport business is dealing with its busiest and most challenging year ever.

Derek Robertson looks back on half a century of history that helped to shape Denmark’s iconic Roskilde Festival and Adam Woods reports on the extraordinary growth of live music in Latin America.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next six weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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